Saffron, also known as Kesar, is a famous spice which is derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". The thread-like stigmas are collected, dried and are used to make saffron spice. It is considered as one of the most expensive and valuable spices in the world and is mainly used as a seasoning and coloring agent in food.7 Benefits of Saffron:
Helps Reduce Depression: One of the most important volatile compounds which is found in saffron is called Crocetin. Crocetin helps in stimulating neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine which effectively aid to passable depression and is mostly used in traditional psychiatric medications.
Helps Regulate Blood Pressure: Owing to the hectic lifestyle these days, irregular blood pressure has come up as one of the most common disorders which people face. Enriched with the goodness of nature, saffron is great source potassium, which helps dilate blood and remove a blockage in arteries. This further maintains blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Maintains skin Health: Anti Inflammatory properties and the presence of antioxidants make saffron an ideal remedy for skin problems. It helps to treat acne and because it’s known to lighten the skin tone, it is used in many beauty products as well. Paired with basil leaves, it helps to reduce the skin blemishes also.
Helps Prevent Cancer: Kaempferol, a compound which is found in the petals of saffron is believed to have anticancer properties. The other benefits include anti-inflammation and anti-depression as well.
Helps treat PMS in women: Studies have suggested that both eating and smelling the saffron can help treat Premenstrual Syndrome. Premenstrual Syndrome is a condition in which a women feels headache, irritability, cravings, pain or anxiety a few days before the beginning of menstrual cycles. Saffron being rich in antioxidants and aroma helps combat the symptoms.
Ideal for Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition in which a person experiences the swelling or pain in joints. Stiffness prevails and a person finds it difficult to move. Consumption of Saffron may help increase the cerebral oxygenation which in turn facilitates in the treatment for arthritis.
Try some Saffron Recipes:
Known for its sweetness and savory, it must have in your spice list. With all the magical benefits listed above, here are some of the ways of how you can make the most out of the most precious and valuable spice in the world.
1. Saffron Tea or Kahwa: To make a super healthy, refreshing tea all you need to have is some fresh strands of Saffron, some water and Honey.
Pour 2 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil.
Turning the heat down slightly, add a pinch of saffron threads, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Add honey to sweeten, if desired.
Strain tea into 2 cups. Serve and relish the taste of luxury spice.
2. Milk and saffron Drink: They go together like bread and butter. Here is how you can make one healthy drink for yourself and your loved ones.
1 cup chopped Pistachio nuts
2 cups Crushed ice
2 teaspoons of hot water
A pinch of Saffron threads
2 teaspoon Superfine sugar
2 cups of Cold milk
For about 15 minutes put saffron threads in a hot water of about 2 tablespoons for it lose its color.
Put in a blender or food processor the pistachio nuts and sugar. Process until smooth.
Add milk and process until completely mixed.
Fill glasses with some ice and pour in milk mixture.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts and the healthy drink is ready to serve.
3. Saffron Rice: To make perfectly fluffy Rice, here is a list of ingredients you would require.
2 pinches of good quality saffron threads.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 minced small onion of about 1/2 cup
2 cups of white basmati rice
3/4 cups chicken stock, or substitute water + extra pinch of salt
1 tsp salt
Take two pinches of saffron threads and put them in hot water for about 15 minutes to open up the flavor of the spice.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain your basmati rice in a colander.
In a large pot, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium flame and add the minced onion to the pot to saute for about 10 minutes.
Now add rice to the pot and saute for one minute more, mixing the rice together with the cooked onion.
Pour the yellow saffron liquid evenly across the top of the rice.
Add broth and salt to the pot and bring to a boil.
Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Let the rice cook for 20 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. Put out the golden rice on a platter and serve.
4. Saffron Chicken:
1 Tablespoon salt.
6 roughly chopped cloves of garlic.
2 tablespoons of crushed cumin seeds.
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
5 tablespoons of olive oil
4 boneless chicken thighs
4 boneless chicken drumsticks
1 tablespoon of crushed saffron threads
4 medium onions,
Freshly ground black pepper.
1 1⁄4 cups of pitted green olives
1⁄3 cup of finely chopped cilantro
Cooked white rice, for serving
Using your knife chop and mash salt and garlic together on a cutting board into a smooth paste.
Transfer paste to a large bowl and stir in cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Put in 3 tbsp. of oil, and then add chicken thighs and drumsticks and toss and fry until evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
Heat remaining oil. Dutch your oven or a large tagine over medium-high heat.
Start adding chicken pieces one by one, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes.
Transfer it to a plate and keep aside.
Add saffron and onions to the pot and season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.
Return chicken to the pot along with lemon slices and a 1 cup water, and bring it to a boil. Now reduce heat to the medium-low and cook with the lid covered until chicken is cooked through, for about 40 minutes. Remove from heat, and scatter some olives over the chicken for that extra effect and then serve with rice.