Every kitchen has a dedicated corner for its spices, and that corner is almost sacred for the cook, as these spices add flavours to the dish and make it worth their energy. Indians love their spices and flavours, which come from the rich and robust masalas native to this land. These spices are found in abundance and can be added in varying combinations to get the desired tastes.
However, there are very few spices that are as exotic as the Saffron. It is more than just a kitchen spice. Grown extensively in the lap of the snow-capped valley of Pampore are the attractive Crocus flowers, which cover the land in a blanket of violet. The stigmas and styles of these flowers are then dried to procure the ‘Red Gold’ spice – Saffron.
While Pampore is the local producer of this very exquisite herb, Saffron, or Kesar, or Zafran, or Kunkumappu is grown in Spain, Italy, Afghanistan, Greece, Morocco and India.
It is not a secret that a single ounce of Saffron costs almost as much as a single ounce of Gold, and is one of the richest spices. First found in the markets of Middle-East, Saffron or Zafran then spread to other parts of the world. A spice of many names, Saffron is so exclusive because of the tedious extraction process. It is also known as the spice of the royals and comes with many health benefits.
History and Significance
From ancient times, Saffron has been used for its medicinal properties, especially in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. One of the oldest herbs, liquid saffron is used in treating nausea, is a natural mood booster, helps reduce the PMS symptoms and is known to aid in weight loss.
Rich with multiple medicinal properties, saffron is also used in religious ceremonies across cultures. Tibetan Monks are known to use saffron in their prayers and blessings. Calligraphers have been using it to write in religious texts. Saffron has been instrumental in many folklores of the European culture and has been around for nearly 5,000 years.
Saffron in your kitchen
Even if this is a rare spice, we love the spice enough to add the saffron strand in everything – beginning from the first cup of our morning tea, to the last slice of the tasty dessert, Saffron is used in almost all recipes. Adding just a pinch of saffron enhances the taste and brings about a rich flavour unique to this spice alone. Europeans are one of the first users of Saffron as a spice for cooking.
It is used as a key ingredient in flavouring and adding colour to most dishes of European, Middle-Eastern, and Asian cuisine. Even the brightest red saffron releases a golden yellow-orange colour to the food, instantly giving it a rich look. With the hint of honey-like fragrance, Saffron strands have a slight grassy note and a hint of a bitter taste. Used in Indian dishes like Biriyani, Rasmalai, Kheer, Halwa and many Indian curries, to Spanish Paella, Italian Risotto, French Bouillabaisse, English Saffron cake and Swedish Bread, and even Ice-creams and kulfis, Saffron is by far the most versatile spice you would find. Use it to add that extra flavour to your soups, and sauces, and marinate your food with a bit of saffron, which will make the dish that much better.
But it is essential that the Saffron gets time to release its colours and spread the goodness. Cooking with saffron also requires important things to be considered. Saffron releases its essence in water, or milk, which is then added as an ingredient in the dishes. Authentic saffron releases its essence even in cold water, however, to speed up the process, saffron strands are added to warm water or milk and left to steep for a while. Allowing the strands time to release their essence ensures that you get to enjoy the full benefits of saffron. Consuming saffron on a regular basis can make you healthy and fit. Good quality saffron is pure and fresh, and tough to find. There are varieties of powdered Saffron also available, but it is wise to buy the authentic Saffron strands, as the powdered saffron cannot emit the aroma like a strand of saffron can.
Saffron for your Beauty
It is historically well-known that Cleopatra used saffron in order to make her skin golden and to give herself a unique (almost romantic) fragrance. Saffron has been used as a beauty product for the longest time and has become one of the most valuable ingredients in the cosmetic industry. Studies have been conducted to find out the impact saffron can have on one’s skin and it has been proven that Saffron has compounds that help protect against UV rays, reduce inflammation, and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Beauty and cosmetic industries use saffron oil as a base ingredient in their products and are used to heal scars, give your skin a glow, and help reduce tan. Women have been using saffron and fresh cream as a DIY skincare routine, making saffron all the more precious.
More than just food and beauty!
Saffron is not just nutritious and beneficial for your skin, it is a highly experimented spice that is used in more than just in your food and skincare products. Saffron is also a very well-known aphrodisiac, that is used by people in medicines to enhance their virility and the Romans are known to have used it in their diet as well.
Saffron has also been extensively used in the garment industry. In the medieval times, owning fabrics that were dyed using saffron was considered a symbol of your social standing. Accessible only to the royals or the crème de la crème of the society, these saffron died fabrics were available in the Middle East. Saffron dying is still practised and along with it, saffron is a part of the alcohol industry, the tobacco industry, the dairy industry, and the pharma industry.
It has so versatile, with so many benefits that it definitely feels worth every penny spent.
However, Saffron is such an exquisite product that is always in high demand, that there is always a threat to come across fake products. There is no lack of duplicate products doing rounds in the market, and you need to ensure that you are getting the best quality product every time.
Saffron is abundantly available on the internet, and it gets tricky to filter the authentic, pure saffron from the others. Buying Saffron online, with Sublime is safe, as we come with the promise of a fresh and authentic harvest of Saffron, that is done in small batches are sourced directly from the producers at Pampore. Kashmiri Saffron is of high standard export quality, which we have sourced especially for our customers so that you can shop without having to worry about quality, freshness or authenticity.