Saffron is used as a food additive and is one of the most expensive spices in the world (Winterhalter and Straubinger, 2000).
The coloring ability, the characteristic aroma and the particular flavor of spice are the properties used in culinary art.
The fibrils of saffron give the food a bright yellow color, a distinctive pleasant subtle taste and a delicate aroma.
Today, in European daily home cuisine, saffron is widely used as a seasoning in a variety of food preparations such as rice, pasta, soups, cakes, bread, many sweets and beverages (green tea, aperitifs, etc).
How is it used in cooking?
- The dosage of saffron in cooking is at least 6-10 fibers for two people and can be increased according to the desire.
- Attention should be paid to high doses in food, which are harmless for health, but give the food iodine flavor even though saffron does not contain iodine in its composition. The dosage also depends on the quality of the saffron.
- If the saffron is of high quality such as SAFFRON OF SERRES, its active substances (crocine, picrοcrocine are high in content; therefore, the dosage is as described above. However, if the quality is low then the dosage should be increased.
- The dose of saffron for medical use is higher.
- Before use, either place the fibers on their own or immerse them in half a glass of water and when the water is colored (after about 1-2 hours) empty the glass in the food just before it is cooked together with the saffron fibers which are edible.
- Can be successfully combined with other spices.
- Decoction (aromatic tea). To make fragrant “saffron tea”, add a tea sachet (1g) for a little while over to a pre-existing hot saffron extract before it cools and add sugar, sweetener or lemon to taste but not milk. If the tea or any other decoction is in bulk then after you have prepared the decoction (tea), filter and discard the beverage fibers, add the saffron fibers and drink the beverage together with the saffron fibers.
- The fresh petals of the flowers are edible and give color and flavor to salads.
- Avoid using it as a dye in foods containing tomato or spinach unless you are only interested in the flavor.
- The heat of cooking adversely affects the concentrations of two important components of safranal and crocine saffron (Rodriguez-Neira L, et al., 2014), so it is preferable to add saffron at the end of cooking.
Saffron could be used in functional foods (foods that contain potential health benefits beyond the traditional nutrients they provide), antioxidant drinks and pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations, as well as food supplements with antioxidant properties. (Assimopoulou et al., 2005)
This spice is part of some of the best-known traditional dishes and beverages…
- In Kashmir, crocus has a long history of being used gastronomically (Kashmiri cusine, wazwaan) in Kashmiri tea (Kehwa).
- In Italy: for the preparation of local specialties risotto Milanese, Valencians paella, etc. In the region of Navelli it is used for the production of local liqueurs.
- In Spain the most popular use of saffron is in paella and zarzuela. (Carmona Delgado eta al., 2006 )
- The Arabs, who are the biggest saffron consumers, use it to flavor lamb, chicken and rice dishes.
- In India for biryani.
- In France for the bouilla-baisse.
- In Morocco, in all kinds of traditional dishes, such as couscous, tajine, pastilla, harira and sweets, to name just a few.
In the food processing industry, saffron is used as a coloring and flavoring agent and improves flavor of Sausages, Margarine, Butter, Sweets, chocolates, Cheese Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, aperitifs, liqueurs Ice creams, Sauces and soups as a garnish.
[Melnyk, J.P., et al, 2010 Basker D, Negbi M (1985), Ingram JG , 1969. Bathaie SZ, Mousavi SZ (2010)]