As one of the most expensive spices in the world, there’s something about saffron that seems to set it apart. Besides being sold typically in small packages that denote luxury somehow (think Perrier bottles), saffron has a wide variety of uses and can even be found in cosmetics, pharmaceutics, and textile dyes.
What makes it so special, though? Here are a few characteristics to consider.
Its Flavour and Smell are Distinct
The best way to find out what saffron tastes like is to add a few strands of saffron threads to a glass of warm milk with just a pinch of sugar or add one to two threads to a pot of rice. The milk and the rice will pick up on the spice’s flavour and aroma. The latter is simultaneously earthy and grassy – just subtly so – and the taste is similar, while also being honey-like and somewhat floral.
As you can see, this spice combines both sweet and savoury flavours and scents. So they can be added to anything from puddings, to curries, to risottos and even stews. Whatever dish you add them to, the combination of this spice’s flavours both boosts and complements that of the dish.
A Little Goes A Long Way
Typically, saffron threads are fine and evenly sized, with thin yellow tendrils on one end and something of a flute on the other. As hinted at earlier, it doesn’t take much of these fine threads to impart the flavour of saffron to a dish, especially if it’s a deeper colour and therefore of better quality. Deep red with the barest hint of orange or yellow is the most highly prized. Just a pinch of good saffron is enough to improve a dish’s flavour, so it won’t empty your wallet.
Threads are Better Than Powder
Most spices are ground to smaller particles, often powdered. When it comes to saffron, though, you’ll want to avoid the powdered version because it generally disappoints when compared to whole threads. There are several reasons for this.
First, whole threads will make it easy for you to determine what colour the saffron is so you can make sure you’re getting the best quality available in whatever store you’re buying it from. Second, ground or powdered saffron can usually end up mixed with other spices even if the latter is generally used to help turn the threads to powder. This means the saffron flavour will be diluted, and that’s not what you want.
Finally, using saffron threads will help you get the most flavour from the smallest amount possible. This is because you will want to gently warm them for a few seconds before lightly pounding and then infusing them in liquid for up to two minutes. This will release colour, scent, and therefore flavour better than just sprinkling, say, chopped-up threads on top of a dish.
As you can see, there are quite a few things saffron has going for it, and it’s easy to understand why this spice is so special. If you want to know where to look for saffron for sale in Australia, visiting this page will help you find the information you need.