SAFFRON is a unique spice deriving its name from the Arab word zafaran which means yellow. There isn’t a single ingredient known that can substitute for its unique flavor which tends to be different for different pallets. A product of the crocus flower, saffron adds a pungent, aromatic flavor to food with its beautiful regal golden color.
Asia Minor is the native ground where saffron has been cultivated for thousands of years and used this spice not only in medicines but perfumes and dyes. It is a wonderful flavoring for foods and beverages but when used in cooking, it is best to start with conservative amounts. Larger amounts of saffron can be bitter, so you definitely want this particular spice to enhance food dishes, not ruin them. Do not use wooden utensils when cooking with saffron because they will absorb the saffron flavor as well as color.
The health benefits of saffron may not be well-recognized but saffron can reduce fevers, cramps and enlarged livers, as well as to calm nerves. It is used externally for bruises, rheumatism, and neuralgia. Before using this or any other spice medicinally it would be best to consult with your physician.
Uses of saffron are endless—from relishes to entrees to rice pudding to even saffron-buttered popcorn. Enjoy this great spice.
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