Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oh my Saffron!

Yesterday I went on the hunt for Saffron, which is the most expensive spice on the planet. Saffron is the stigma of a type of crocus flower, and costs anywhere from $13.99 to $18.99 for a .036 oz. I found it at Quincy Natural foods for $13, in comparison to the $18 they wanted for it at Safeway. This was a huge splurge for me, I mean seriously, I buy wine for $6-$8, I am a total bargain shopper, but Saffron is like gold, I will hoard it and lovingly use it in my food as though I were sprinkling gold dust over my meal.

Here are some nutritional facts of saffron that I have come to learn:

  • Saffron contains many plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Saffron contains carotenoids including zeaxanthin, lycopene, and A and B carotenes. These are important antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidant induced stress, cancers, infections and acts as imune modulators.
  • The active components in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-oxidant, digestive, and anti-convulsant.
  • The spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.
  • Saffron is also rich in many vital vitamins including Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin C that are all essential for optimum health.

So whats next? Cooking with the saffron. You can add small amounts of saffron to rice, sauces, soups, breads and pastas. The beauty of this golden spice is that you don't need to add very much to get essence you are looking for. It will amaze and delight the senses, put you in a good mood and make your home smell wonderful.

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