Saffron: aroma and taste
Saffron in cooking is called a spice made from dried stigmas of the flowers of the saffron plant. It has a very wide application in the cuisines of the peoples of the Middle East, Central Asia, Southern Europe. Details about what this spice looks like, what flavor it has and why it is put in the dishes, is described in the article.
Saffron Spice Description
To prepare spices during flowering, saffron flowers are cut off and pestles are separated. They are dried and crushed near the fire, in the air or in a special dryer. The result is long, soft, interwoven threads of red-brown or dark red color with yellowish blotches.
Today, the plant is grown in many countries, most of all in Iran, Greece, India, China. To get 1 kg of spice, you need to dry 200 thousand flowers. From one hectare of planting, you can collect raw materials for the preparation of 20 kg of spice.
The average cost of the described spices in the world is 6 thousand dollars per kilogram. The minimum price is $ 500, the maximum is $ 15,000. Unscrupulous sellers often sell several marigolds or American safflower similar to them as saffron threads.
Video: Why saffron is so expensive
Types of Saffron
Depending on the place of cultivation, there are several varieties of the described spices:
- Kashmir saffron. It is considered the most valuable. Sold for 20-30 thousand. Painted in dark red. It has a pronounced specific odor. There are 3 varieties of the Kashmiri species: Shahi (first grade), Mogra (second) and Lachha (third). Spices are dried under natural conditions.
- Spanish. It is represented by two types: a better and more expensive Coupe and a cheaper Superior. The Spanish variety is dried in special ovens. Its cost ranges from 6 to 15 dollars per gram.
- Iranian. This variety on store shelves can be found throughout the world most often. This is the cheapest option. It costs about $ 460 per kilogram.
What taste and aroma does it have
The smell of the described spice is sharp, strong, sweet-tart, bitter, peculiar. Perhaps it is difficult to confuse it with any other spice. The taste is spicy, bitter, with an admixture of sweetness and a touch of fresh hay. Saffron has one feature - it gives away the taste gradually, over a period of 12-24 hours.
Did you know? Saffron is one of the most expensive spices. In medieval times, 1 pound of “golden spice” was offered in exchange for a thoroughbred Arabian horse.
What taste gives dishes
It is customary to put saffron to give a delicate bitter-spicy tart taste in dishes of rice (for example, pilaf, bozbash), peas (party), in meat, vegetable and fish soups, broths. It is used to give a pleasant aroma to confectionery, cheeses, sausages, alcoholic beverages, teas, coffee, desserts.
In some countries, in addition to flavoring, the described spice is also used to color the dish, dough. With the help of her dishes are painted in a delicious golden hue.
Before cooking, it is recommended to soak the spice in water of warm temperature. So it is possible to maximize its aroma. Recommended soaking time is 20-30 minutes. Another pre-treatment method is roasting in a dry pan, grinding into powder and putting into milk, broth, white wine.
Important! In order not to spoil the taste of food, it is necessary to put a very small amount of saffron in it. So, for cooking pilaf only 5 threads are required.
The benefits of dry saffron threads have been known since ancient times. They are credited with reducing the risk of developing certain oncological diseases, depression, vision problems, kidney diseases.
- The beneficial properties of spices include:
- pain relief
- increased appetite;
- excretion of urine, sweat, bile;
- stimulation of sexual activity;
- mood improvement;
- destruction of bacteria;
- cleansing the body of harmful substances;
- an increase in the level of red blood cells in the blood;
- improving the functioning of the heart muscle;
- pressure normalization;
- improvement of blood composition;
- body toning;
- brain stimulation;
- improved complexion;
- smoothing the skin.
The described seasoning can be harmful and has contraindications. It is ranked among spices that are prohibited for use by women bearing a child, due to an increase in the tone of the uterus and the risk of fetal rejection.
Important! In addition to giving the original taste and smell of food, saffron acts as a preservative. After adding it, the dish can be stored for several days.
So, saffron is one of the most popular and expensive spices that has been used in cooking for many centuries. With the help of it, you can ensure that the dishes will smell sweet-tart aroma and acquire an exquisite peculiar taste. In order for seasoning to bring benefits to the body, not harm, it should be consumed in limited quantities.