Organic saffron is one of the most praised and powerful spices in the world. It’s so strong that a single string can flavor an entire meal. Derived from a flower known as saffron crocus (Latin name: Crocus sativus), saffron is a mainstay of paella, a famous Spanish dish that shows off the bright yellow color that saffron imbues to both food and clothing. (The famous yellow robes worn by Tibetan monks are often dyed with saffron.) It takes 150 threads of saffron to produce a single gram, but for true foodies, its unique flavor makes the extra effort worthwhile. This unique seasoning has a scent reminiscent of metallic honey with hay or grassy-like touch, and its taste also tends to be hay-like and lightly sweet.
Unground, whole saffron strings are available from Indus Organics, a company that sells a variety of high quality organic edible goods. Besides paella, saffron can add superb zest and color to many risotto and rice dishes, as well as to ice-cream and bread desserts. As an organic spice, saffron’s taste and quality is enhanced by the fact that it is grown without the use of pesticides or GMOs. Grown in Spain.
Nutrition facts and health benefits of saffron
- Though just a spice, saffron is an abundant mineral source, and a decent vitamin source. When it comes to the minerals, it contains: calcium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. On the other hand, the vitamins found present are: vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin A.
- Saffron contains numerous plant-derived chemical constituents that bear health fortifying, illness-preventing, and antioxidant properties. The saffron flower pistils are a host of essential volatile oils, and one of the most important is called safranal, which is also responsible for the spice’s distinct taste. Studies have deducted that safranal has cytoxonic, antioxidant effect on cancer cells, as well as antidepressant qualities. Other oils found present in the composition of saffron are: phenethenol, geraniol, cineole, linalool etc.
- The herb also has non-volatile compounds, among which is the carotenoid α-crocin, which causes the golden color of the pistils. Alpha-crocin has been found to offer anti-cancer, anti-depressant, and antioxidant properties. Saffron also contains other carotenoids with antioxidant character: β-carotenes, α-carotenes, zea-xanthin, and lycopene. These constituents help protect the body from infections, and oxidant-stress, and act as immunostimulators.