Saffron Crocus – The Wonder Spice Used for Cooking and Coloring
Saffron crocus is the gold of all spices and a delectable ingredient of Spanish dishes. It comes from crocus flowers and is sold for more than $30 a gram.
PHOTO BY FLICKR.COM/LINDAH/
Saffron Crocus - Used for Cooking and Medicinal Purposes
The high-prized gourmet spice comes from a flower called saffron crocus. Used for cooking and medicinal purposes the spice is harvested during the autumn season. Saffron crocus
is costly because each bulb contains only three stigmas. The stigmas and styles are harvested and dried to produce the spice. The major part of the process is done by hand. A vast number of flower bulbs are needed to yield on ounce of spice. The flowers bloom during the month of September. It lies dormant till the flowering period of the coming year. A pound of spice can cost anwyhere from $500 to $5,000. It is very expensive, that’s why some spice lovers actually grow their own.
Spanish Saffron - A Must for Every Gourmet Kitchen
The most exported spice worldwide is Spanish saffron. Its sweet aroma is used to enhance the flavor of rich Spanish dishes like paella, roast suckling pig lamb stews, soups, sauces even pies and ice cream. A precious cooking ingredient, the spice is very versatile. Its presence is a must in every gourmet kitchen. The flavor of Spanish saffron
can be maximized by grinding the spice using a mortar and pestle. It is also best to heat the spice on a pot before mixing it to the stew or sauce. For a soothing infusion its pure flavor can be enjoyed by mixing it with hot water.
Saffron Oil - Intense Herbal Flavor
Gourmet cooks who prefer strong and intense herbal flavors can drizzle their Seafood and pasta dishes with saffron oil. Aside from spicing up several cuisines it also has a lot of health benefits. Saffron oil helps lower cholesterol and stops the growth of tumor. The versatile ingredient can actually be prepared at home. Crush two large pinches of saffron threads in a jar using a large spoon. Mix with two teaspoons hot water and leave for 10 minutes. Mix half cup grape seed with half cup extra-virgin in a pan and heat until hot. Remove from stove and mix with the crushed saffron in the jar. Shake and set aside for at least one day before mixing with food.