With just a pinch of saffron, make delicious saffron water to flavor sweet and savory dishes, and use it as a refreshing drink or addition to your skincare routine.
Learn multiple uses of the liquid gold, which will surprise you with its strong flavor, bright color, and unique medical benefits.
Saffron is the most expensive spice.
Saffron comes from the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus flower). It is obtained by carefully picking the thread called stigma from the flower. It is the most expensive spice in the world because it is harvested by hand during a very short blooming period. Known as the golden spice of the world, saffron is highly valued for its flavor, aroma, vibrant color, and medicinal benefits. Although saffron is expensive, a small amount goes a long way. Saffron is cultivated in Iran and is often used in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines.
Where can we find high-quality saffron?
When buying saffron, make sure you’re buying from reputed sellers. Health food stores or online stores like Mountain rose herbs are good choices. Saffron is the most expensive spice that one can easily mix with other ingredients, such s dried calendula petals, to gain profit. Thus be very careful when buying from ordinary vendors or in the markets. Stay away from fine powder saffron.
I have encountered saffron many times during my more than ten years living in the Middle East. Local sellers would try to trick tourists by selling fake saffron. Since we had many friends coming from Europe who wanted to buy genuine local saffron, we had some tricks to spot the fake saffron. One way was to test its flavor and aroma. The sweet taste was a clear sign of fake saffron. Another test involved placing a piece of saffron in water and observing discoloration. From this experience, I highly recommend saffron from reputable sellers to ensure you get a genuine product.
Health benefits of saffron infused water
Saffron has been used for thousands of years and possesses many healing properties. From boosting your immune system to anti-inflammatory properties, people use it to ease digestion and menstrual cramps and as an aphrodisiac.
Scientific studies have shown several health benefits of saffron, including its ability to boost mood. It is often called the “sunshine spice” not because of its yellow color but because it can improve mood. Researchers found that saffron supplements like saffron extract are as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac), a drug for mild to moderate depression.
Saffron contains antioxidants such as crocin, crocetin, safranal, and kaempferol with antidepressant properties that reduce appetite and aid weight loss. (1)
Water with saffron has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. In a study conducted on rats, it was shown to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol.
Ease menstrual cramps
Additionally, saffron infused water may help alleviate premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Several studies have confirmed its ability to ease uncomfortable symptoms such as mood swings and physical discomfort.
Improve learning and memory
Research has indicated that saffron water can enhance learning and memory function. A specific study found that saffron or kesar water positively affected cognitive abilities, suggesting its potential as a memory booster.
How to Make Saffron Water
Learn how to make saffron water and use all its medicinal properties.
- 10 strands of saffron (1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 cup of warm water
- sugar and salt ( optional). In some cultures, people add sugar or salt to the saffron strands as it helps to grind the saffron. In that case, place them together with saffron in the mortar.
First step – grind the saffron
Use a small mortar and pestle and crush the saffron threads gently. This helps release the flavor and aroma. If you’re using a small quantity of saffron, I do not recommend using a spice grinder, as you may lose a significant amount of the threads in the process.
Second step – pour hot water over the saffron
Place the crushed Persian saffron threads into a cup or bowl. Pour the warm water over the saffron threads and stir the mixture to ensure the saffron threads are well distributed in the water. Cover with the lid and allow the saffron water to steep for at least 7-10 minutes. During this time, the water will absorb the saffron’s color, flavor, and aroma.
Third step – Cool and store
After steeping, you can strain it, but I keep the saffron threads in the water. Store saffron-infused water in the refrigerator.
What is bloomed saffron?
In Middle Eastern recipes, you may come across the terms “liquid saffron” or “bloomed saffron.” It means soaking it for 10 minutes in hot water before using it.
How to Use Liquid Saffron
1.saffron water recipes
Saffron water adds unique color, flavor, and aroma to your favorite dishes.
In savory dishes
Adding saffron water to the rice while cooking creates fragrant and visually appealing rice dishes like saffron rice, homemade Spanish rice, saffron pasta or saffron risotto. It is also used in Indian Biryani. In addition, traditional Spanish paella often includes saffron-infused water or broth for its distinct flavor and golden hue.
You can drink it as saffron tea. I like to add honey or mint leaves to enhance the flavor and aroma.
Or saffron milk. Add saffron water to warm milk and simmer the mixture in the saucepan to make saffron milk. To make it add the milk to a small saucepan. Slowly bring it to a simmer. Stir in the honey, cover the saucepan, and let it chill for 4 hours.
Drinking a glass of saffron water first thing in the morning is a great way to decrease sugar cravings.
Use it in desserts like saffron-flavored ice cream, cakes, rice puddings, and custards to impart its unique taste and color. Saffron goes well with cardamom and rose water.
2. Natural Coloring Agent
Saffron water can be used as a natural dye or coloring agent for various purposes, including dyeing fabrics, yarns, and artwork.
It has a calming aroma and helps improve your mood. You can use saffron water in room sprays or diffuser blends to create a soothing atmosphere.
Saffron water has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can benefit the skin. In addition, saffron gives a red glow to your face and adds freshness. Use it to make a natural toner to apply to the face with a cotton pad. Or add it to homemade face masks or soap.
People commonly use it as a natural hair treatment to strengthen and brighten their hair and add shine. Apply it on hair right after shampooing and left on for a few minutes before rinsing.
How to Store Saffron
Place saffron threads in a small airtight container and keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as other kitchen ingredients and spices. This will help maintain their freshness for several months.
Alternatively, you can wrap your saffron in airtight packaging and store it in the freezer, where it can remain usable for up to a year.
How to Store Saffron Water
While some suggest that saffron water can be stored in a sealed jar at room temperature for several weeks, I store it in the refrigerator. I use an airtight container and keep it chilled for up to three weeks. This helps maintain its quality and flavor.