What is Saffron?

What is Saffron

Unique and powerful, Saffron is the most valuable spice in the world- and with good reason! By weight, Saffron is worth more than gold. Saffron is so expensive because it is very high in antioxidants, has a multitude of health benefits and is incredibly aromatic and full of flavour. For a spice that can be used in so many different ways, Saffron threads and saffron powder are both highly sought after by those looking for some flavourful magic in their day to day life.  

There is no Saffron supplement, poor man’s saffron or alternative. Saffron is a truly unique and incredible spice that can not be replicated. Our Saffron meets and exceeds the international standards of quality and potency. The effects of premium quality Saffron can not be duplicated. Once you understand the chemical make-up of Saffron, whether you are a chef or home cook, you will be able to experience the flavour, aroma and benefits of Saffron at your fingertips. 

Where does Saffron come from?

As most of the Saffron in the world, our Saffron comes from Iran. The Saffron in Iran is cultivated by professional Saffron harvesters who use traditional, chemical-free methods for cultivation. They know how to grow Saffron, nurture the plant and extract its powers using only traditional methods. This means that Persian saffron is typically free of all pesticides, preservatives, additives and even food colouring. Because of this, the fiery red strands of Saffron cook to a beautiful golden colour. 

While 90% of the world’s saffron comes from Iran, it is also grown in Greece and Spain. Saffron from Greece is also incredibly delicious and aromatic. Typically giving a sweetly bitter and floral flavour, Greek Saffron is stronger in taste than the Persian strains. In contrast to the slight bitterness of the Greek strain, Spanish Saffron is mellow, sweet and floral with far more honey notes. All three strains of Saffron are born from stunning purple flowers. No matter which country it comes from, Saffron goes through a systematic review process to ensure it meets the international organization for standardization of Saffron quality standards. 

What are its benefits?

The positive side effects of Saffron are ten-fold. Not only is Saffron bursting with flavour, but it is also filled with antioxidants that can have lasting positive effects on your health. Saffron is protective of the body and the mind. First and foremost, the most immediate effect of incorporating Saffron into your daily routine is a boost in serotonin in both your gut and mind. An increase in serotonin helps alleviate mild to moderate depression symptoms, greatly improving your mental health all round. In addition to improving mental health, Saffron has been seen to promote weight loss while simultaneously lowering blood pressure, your resting heart rate and oxidative stress. Another profound side effect of using Saffron daily is that premenstrual syndrome symptoms (PMS) are managed and often suppressed. Additionally, Saffron has been proven to promote weight loss and even help with erectile dysfunction! Some new side effects that are showing from the use of Saffron has improved eyesight and the curbing of vision-related diseases. This spice truly is magical!   

What is Saffron used for? 

The easiest way to introduce Saffron into your diet is through cooking or tea. Mixing Saffron with black tea is a fast way to inject the spices powers into your nutrition intake. Some other common ways to incorporate Saffron into your cooking is by adding it to rice for dishes such as Saffron Rice, risotto, stir fry and seafood paella type meals too. If you’re looking for ways to inject more flavour into your fish, adding Saffron to your marinade will do wonders. Saffron works beautifully infused in sauces including white wine sauce, beef sauces and even tomato-based sauces. Saffron also can be turned into oil by infusing olive oil or even into desserts, coffees or salad dressings! 

Considering Saffron is quite expensive, the list of possible dishes can feel quite overwhelming but rest assured, all you need is a couple of threads per person per dish. Saffron’s high potency is what makes the herb so universally sought after! 

How to use it?

If you are purchasing Saffron threads or powder instead of the liquid concentrate, you will need to learn how to properly extract the spice from the threads. The chemical compounds of Saffron are powerful but require a specific method of extraction- cold brewing. Boiling Saffron threads leads the compounds of the spice to break down too quickly thus compromising the integrity of the spice. 

To cold brew simply leave a cup of ice and your desired amount of Saffron to sit and melt in room temperature. Once brewed this way your Saffron can be used for 10 days. It is important to note that while Saffron will not go off, it can lose potency over time. In the form of powder or threads, Saffron can last up to 6 months if kept in an airtight container in a cool dark place. 

How do we get it? 

The Saffron threads that you buy are the dried stigma of a flower. The spice comes from the Saffron Crocus sativus, a plant full of purple flowers, is harvested by hand and dried. Once the Crocus sativus stigmas (blooms) are dried, the crimson red Saffron spice is extracted. They are plucked by hand and dried, resulting in a stunningly fragrant spice that is loved worldwide. The lengthy delicate process of acquiring Saffron extracts is what makes Saffron the world’s most expensive spice.