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Saffron :: Herb of the Month

Posted Jun 30 2010 11:59pm

Saffron [Crocus sativus]

When I think of saffron, the first thought that comes to mind is expensive, and second, pretty dainty threads of orange, red, and gold. These warm colorful threads are the stigmas of a flower of the crocus family which originated in west Asia and grows in Kashmir and Turkey, and in Mediterranean countries – the largest quantity these days comes from Spain. The use of saffron is very much a part of cuisines of these regions.

Saffron has a delicate fragrance. I find it not-so-easy to pin-point its flavor. For me, it has a somewhat sour, mostly sweet-bitter taste. Some say it’s bitter, or that it has a bitter, honey-like taste. It has also been described as having a bright metallic flavor. The taste is very individual I’d say.

Whatever flavor/s your taste buds detect, you don’t want to actually taste much saffron in a dish. Great chefs say if you can taste the saffron in a dish, there is too much. Use saffron with a light hand, like a pinch, or no more than is needed for a recipe. You’ve probably discovered for yourself a little saffron goes a long way.

But don’t let this or the price sway you from including saffron as staple spice in your kitchen. Have some handy to make great Indian, Mediterranean, Moroccan, and Spanish recipes. Paella is a popular dish using saffron, as well as curry dishes and desserts.

Preparing Saffron
It adds beautiful coloring of golden to pale yellow and give an equally beautiful taste and aroma to recipes. Saffron strands need to be soaked in a little warm water or nut/seed milk to infuse and bring out its gorgeous color. An alternative to release its aroma, flavor, and color is to grind it into a powder, and all you need to do is add the appropriate amount to your recipe – no further extraction is necessary.

Storing Saffron
If stored properly, this precious spice can have a good long shelf life. Keep it stored tightly sealed and in the refrigerator.

The Giveaway
Generally on the last day of the month our monthly herb of the month drawing takes place. The month of June had been kind of hectic and our herb of the month posted on the last day of June. So, this giveaway will run in July until Saturday, July 24th at 11:59pm PST.

If you’ve never or have always wanted to try saffron or have run out and need more, enter this drawing for a chance to receive organic saffron , courtesy of our sponsor Mountain Rose Herbs . Leave a comment below sharing tips, suggestions, ideas, your experience using saffron, or simply your desire to try it. On Sunday, July 25th, one of your names will be drawn from the comment section of this post, and Mountain Rose Herbs will send a gift of saffron to the lucky participant.

Are you on Twitter?
For extra entry points, copy this message below and retweet:

@RawEpicurean offers a gift-the most expensive spice in the world SAFFRON courtesy @MtnRoseHerbs Enter drawing here

Saffron Recipe :: Coming Soon

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