Saffron is used as a spice, a condiment, an aphrodisiac and coloring agent.
As a therapeutic plant, pure saffron is considered excellent for stomach ailment and is an antispasmodic, helps digestion and increases appetite. It is also considered that in small quantities it regulates women’s menstruation and helps conception.
In India, it is used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicines which heal a variety of diseases ranging from arthritis to Impotence and infertility. It is used for curing Asthma & cough and common cold. It is used in treating alcoholism and a few skin diseases. It is used for treatment of enlarged liver and infection of urinary bladders and kidneys (claim the Ayurvedic practitioners)
As a spice pure saffron is used in cooking both as a coloring and flavoring agent. It is used to improve flavor while giving distinct aroma and a beautiful golden color.
There is a great list of foods where saffron is added including cheese products such as cottage cheese and Parmesan soups, various spirits, pasta and rice and many more…
It is an essential commodity in high milk/cream based confectioneries. It is used in various dairy products like ice-creams flavored milk, shrikkhand etc.
In India to serve saffron based delicacies during marriages and other celebrations is a norm.
Sweets laced with saffron are distributed during religious festivities.
- Kashmiri Saffron Tea (Kehwa)
Kehwa is regarded as a delightful refreshing brew. All you have to do is, boil some water and add a few filaments of pure saffron along with some Kashmiri tea till half the water evaporates and the tea draws its strength. Add sugar to taste and serve it with freshly crushed almonds and powdered cardamom.
- Saffron Milk (A Tonic For Health)
Soak about 1mg of pure saffron in 3-4 teaspoonful of Luke warm water and leave it for about half an hour till a concentrate of saffron is founded. Add this concentrate to a glass of 200 ml milk. Add sugar to taste along with some crushed almonds & pistachio. Serve it chilled during summer.
Sherbat is even cooler and simpler, an infusion of saffron stirred into sugar syrup and chilled out with ice. It is grandmother’s recipe to beat the scorching heat.
SAFFRON USAGE METHOD
There are two basic ways to use saffron:
- If you have ample time on hand, than to get the maximum out of the saffron filaments, soak a few filaments in a cup of water overnight. This way you will be able to extract the maximum color and flavor from the saffron filaments and at the same time the filaments will expand to their original size, so that while garnishing the dish with it, you would be able to show its maximum size. Add this colored saffron concentrate to the dish directly.
- In case you are running short of time, don’t panic; just crumble a few threads in a few tsp of water till a paste is formed Add this directly to the dish. In this case you would be able to get the desired result in terms of color and flavor, but you wouldn’t be able to display the full length of the filament.