5 Best Tips in Using Saffron Strands For Your Meals

Have you ever tried adding saffron to your dishes? If you haven’t got any idea what this stuff is, it’s the thread-like structure of the Crocus Sativus flower. Called ‘stigma’, these long red strands when dried, are said to be the most expensive spice by weight. When added to dishes in the correct amounts, saffron brings out the best flavour of food. But do you know how to use saffron when preparing your meals?

  1. When buying, go for high-quality products.

These are the characteristics of saffron with superior quality:

  • Appearance – The long deep red strands are preferable to the powdered product. The threads are of even sizes with one end having an orange tendril while the other end looks like a flute with the shape of a trumpet. On the other hand, ground saffron tastes inferior to the strands.
  • Flavour – Excessive use of the said spice results in a bitter flavour. Just the right amount gives a vanilla-like flavour – a musty, pungent taste with a fragrance of sweet floral accents. However, the stronger the aroma, the better the flavour.
  • Colour – Even if dipped in milk or water, the red strands don’t change colours. Now if the tendrils are yellowish, it indicates poor quality.

Further, don’t make the mistake of substituting saffron with either safflower or turmeric since there’s a big difference in their respective flavours. Likewise, fake saffron is more recognisable by its shredded appearance with the tendrils disconnected. Plus, the stuff smells like bark. And take note, saffron of the best quality is definitely expensive.

  1. To get the best flavours, pound the strands.

Use a mortar and pestle or if not, crush the threads with your fingers. Then, soak the saffron for 20-30 minutes in any of these liquids – milk, white wine, stock or warm water. When your recipe calls for it, use the threads including the liquids you soaked them in.

  1. For the best paella recipes, toast your saffron.

Toasting saffron threads releases a much stronger aroma. Toast the saffron in a cast iron skillet over medium heat for about a minute or two while stirring frequently to avoid burning. Remove from heat. Let it cool. Mash the threads using mortar and pestle. You can either steep the product in liquid or add it directly to your dish.

  1. Use only very little amounts.

A very small amount of saffron is enough to get the right taste of your dishes. Something like a ‘pinch’ is ideal which experts say is equivalent to approximately 20 medium-sized threads.

  1. Mix saffron with other spices for a deeper flavour.

The spice goes well with herbs, aromatics and other spices. These include cumin, almond, garlic, cinnamon, onion and vanilla as well. Any combination of the above is suitable for saffron rice or a chicken dish.

Don’t be fooled by online or offline scammers out to get your money. If you are in Australia, buy only the authentic pure saffron strands through this link.

By admin
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