Mother Earth Living

The Saffron Mystique: Tips for Cooking Saffron

Learn how to make tasty dishes with this bright herb, saffron
By Ellen Szita
February/March 2001
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 • Saffron’s flavor is especially delicious in the following: mussel broths and soups; chicken, lamb, leek, tomato, and eggplant dishes; vanilla or honey ice cream; sweet yeast breads; vinaigrette and white sauces; pear and apple desserts; butter cookies and shortbread; all types of potatoes; and tea with a little honey, hot or iced.

• Store it in an airtight glass container; keep it away from heat and light .

• If a recipe directs you to powder saffron threads, don’t use a wooden mortar and pestle; it will absorb the spice and the flavor.

• Steep saffron threads a minimum of twenty minutes in hot broth, water, or milk or room-temperature citrus juice, white wine, or vinegar to release their flavor. Don’t strain the threads out, however; the threads continue to release flavor, so use both the threads and liquid in your recipe.

• If you are substituting powdered saffron for threads, use half as much powder.

• If cooking with saffron stains your hands, you can remove the stains with vinegar.

• Saffron bread will always be more flavorful the second day.

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