By weight, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, and more expensive than many precious metals…this is due to the fact that saffron must be hand harvested from a special fall crocus flower. Each crocus flower only produces 3 stigmas (strands of saffron), and it takes over a quarter million strands to produce a pound!
Saffron has been around multi-tasking since about 1000 BC – as I wrote in a previous post – it used to be scattered on the floor of gathering halls and theatres in Greece and Rome to help cover the “scent” of humans :). Other uses are medicinal – as with most yellow and red foods, it’s really good for you!
As far as food goes…saffron is prized for its honey-hay like flavor and aroma, and of course, the golden yellow color it produces with just a pinch into any sauce, rice, soup, etc. Buy your saffron in tiny amounts in whole stamen form. The ground stuff isn’t nearly as good as it has more stuff from the flower to make it weigh more. If you just can’t bring yourself to spend the $$ when a recipe calls for saffron, try substituting turmeric (VERY good for you).
Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses saffron in bread, soups, stews, risottos like our Saffron and Orchid Petal Risotto, and even desserts! Have you tried saffron in a dish? Tell us how you liked it here !
Linda Baier of Isaiah’s Way Nutrition has made my post extremely easy this week – I’m just copying her info to pass along to you!
Inflammation is a key contributor to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and joint pain, so reducing inflammation is important to your health. According to a study cited in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the herbs and spices that best reduce or suppress inflammation and protect against DNA damage are: • Cloves • Ginger • Rosemary • Turmeric • Paprika • Sage • Cumin.
Of all the spices listed above, turmeric is a health superstar! That’s because it contains curcumin, an antioxidant compound found in the root of the turmeric plant. Years of studies continue to show that turmeric helps to: • Protect brain function • Reduce the risk of memory loss • Aid digestive and cardiovascular health • Improve the immune system • Prevent the growth of certain cancer cells • Improve liver function (your body’s natural detoxifier.) • Reduce cholesterol level • Reduce joint pain and improve flexibility (especially in arthritis sufferers) • Serve as a natural antibiotic, inhibiting the growth of bacteria. What’s the best way to get all the health benefits of turmeric? Scientists note that combining black pepper with turmeric increases the amount of curcumin your body can absorb. (India and Thai recipes often contain both!) So mix the two spices when you’re cooking with turmeric! Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses all of these spices copiously, not only because they’re so good for you but because they enhance the flavor of so many foods so beautifully! One example is our Sweet Potato and Kale Salad with Bulgar. Bask in the deliciousness and vibrancy of this healthful dish!