AS GOOD AS GOLD
This month we are focusing on the world’s most expensive spice – Saffron.
Saffron has been cultivated for thousands of years and is used mainly in medicines, perfumes and dyes. It is derived from from the beautiful violet-blue Crocus Sativa flower, specifically the dried stigma from inside the flower.
The Greek word “Crocus” means “thread”, referring to the stigmas inside the flower. The name Saffron originates from the Arabic word, “Zafaran” which means “to become yellow” which refers to saffron’s use as a bright yellow dye.
The reason this magical ingredient is so expensive is because of how it is harvested. Saffron is hand-picked only when flowers are fully bloomed and the saffron strand (stigma) is at its reddest. Harvesting begins shortly after dawn since picked saffron quickly loses its colour and flavour and withers under the sunlight. Each flower has only three stigmas and these are carefully separated and dried. The whole process is laborious and time-consuming. Imagine: about 200,000 saffron stigmas are picked from 70,000 flowers, taking up to 200 hours. All to produce less than 500g of Saffron!
Saffron contains an impressive variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants — molecules that protect your cells against free radicals and oxidative stress. Notable saffron antioxidants include crocin, crocetin, safranal, and kaempferol which contribute to its impressive list of health benefits including:
- preventing the formation of certain cancer cells and providing protection against mutations
- boosting the immune system
- relieving stress and anxiety and enhancing mood
- slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease
- acting as an aphrodisiac, enhancing libido
- suppressing appetite and boosting metabolism to aid weight loss
- reducing symptoms of PMS and dysmenorrhea
- aiding the digestive system and treating upset stomachs
- removing skin blemishes and reducing wrinkles
- maintaining blood pressure and reducing risk of heart diseases (due to potassium found in Saffron)
Click here to buy Saffron Supplement.
Saffron Raw Honey Infusion
Blossom Honey’s Persian saffron is deemed to be the best in the world, sourced from the Mashhad region of Iran. Only the top third of the stigmas are used, meaning the deepest crimson red colour is maintained and ensuring the best quality and earning its title of “Red Gold”
There is a strong link between Saffron and our “Liquid Gold” honey. The Saffron stigmas are pollen receptors, capturing tiny grains of pollen as the bees visit the Crocus flowers seeking nectar. Saffron has a sweet honey aroma and a mild, earthy, musky taste.
A natural pairing, Blossom Honey’s Saffron Infusion takes the best Persian Saffron and infuses it for a minimum of two weeks in our best-selling Yemeni Sidr Do’Ani to create a moderately thick amber honey flecked with crimson threads. The taste is smoky with a mild musky aftertaste of Saffron. Delicious in warm milk, tea, laban or yoghurt, this infused honey can also be used drizzled over cakes and pastries.
Saffron honey milk
For a simple, delicious saffron honey milk, put milk and cardamom pods into a pot over low heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 5 mins. Then switch off the heat. Let the milk cool a little, stir in Blossom Honey Saffron Infusion. Pour into cups and top with a few saffron strands, pistachio nuts and some rose petals.
Click here to buy Saffron Infusion.