What is Saffron Used For?

Kindi Lantz September 06, 2018

A round-up of some of the most famous uses of saffron

If you were to ask ten people, “what is saffron used for”, eight or nine of the answers returned  would be, “paella”, a Valencian comfort food made of rice, vegetables, and various combinations of meat and seafood and traditionally cooked in a large pan over an open flame

Those eight or nine individuals wouldn’t be wrong in their answers. True paella can’t be made without the addition of saffron. But those blood red stigmas are suitable for infusing so many other dishes with rich golden color and unique, earthy flavor.

Allow me to answer your original question:

What is saffron used for?

First and foremost, saffron is a spice, and not just any spice—the most expensive spice in the world, pound-for-pound against other spices. Like any other spice, saffron is used for enlivening dishes and aiding in the metamorphosis of multitudinous combinations of ingredients from bland to delectably marvelous.

Yes, it’s most commonly known for its inclusion in paella recipes, but saffron is a key ingredient in many other classic rice dishes like Italian risotto Milanese, Indian biryani, and French bouillabaisse. It adds brilliant color and piquancy to a mostly lackluster grain.

saffron rice dish

 

It’s a wonder why paella dishes tend to be the most noted mention of recipes including saffron because it is rarely found in other Spanish dishes.  Yet, is a common addition to many dishes in other regions—gracing plates with the frequency of garlic in Italy or chile peppers in Mexico. For instance, in India and Iran it is found in everything from pastries to beverages and from sweet to savory!

Because the robust flavor is released with the addition of heat, saffron threads are best used to infuse other dishes with some sort of liquid as a carrier of flavor (though lightly toasting it will also bring out the flavor). Because of this, saffron is perfect for adding a level of vibrancy to both the flavor and color of sauces, stews, and braises. I especially like it in tomato and cream-based sauces.  

The uses for saffron have spanned far beyond the culinary realm, too. Saffron’s capability of contributing a vivid golden hue has suited it as a dyeing agent. As a dye, it is most famous for brightening the robes of Buddhist Monks.  But while all of the various robes donned by monks are dyed with various plant fibers, it is specifically the long orange robes worn by the Theravada Buddhist Monks in Southeast Asia that are traditionally colored using saffron.

saffron Bhuddist robes

Saffron also dates back to the beginning of time as a homeopathic remedy for various ailments and continued health. For a more detailed explanation of the proposed healing properties of this super spice, check out this article.

As you can see, saffron is a prolific substance with numerous purposes! So, now that you know what saffron can be used for, it’s time to get started!

Try out some of our favorite saffron recipes:






Slofoodgroup

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Our Blog, Stories, Recipes, and Spices

Cardamom Coffee Chocolate Mousse

by Slofoodgroup June 30, 2022

Dark Chocolate, Espresso, and Cardamom Mousse—sounds like a dessert-lovers fantasy! Smooth and light in texture, yet bold and rich in flavor, you are going to love this dessert, especially because it is so easy to make!

View full article →

Tortilla Espanola with Truffles and Fresh Herbs

by Slofoodgroup June 27, 2022

Black Truffle Tortilla Espanola Spanish Omelet – aka, “Tortilla Espanola” – is a simple dish comprised of eggs, thinly sliced potatoes, and often an onion. This traditional dish is often served as tapas and is incredibly easy to make!

View full article →

Are there Substitutes for Cardamom

by Slofoodgroup June 25, 2022

Cardamom has an incredibly unique flavor. It’s profile includes an eclectic blend of culinary descriptors and it is included in many recipes for good reason. However, it is not found in every spice cupboard, so if you are looking for a substitute, read this article to find the perfect replacement.

View full article →