Saffron Tea Recipe – Health Benefits and Nutritional Value

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red saffron strands in bowl perfect for tea

Before we get to the saffron tea recipe, we should first get to know a little more about the multiple health benefits of saffron and its origin.

Saffron is a spice often found in Mediterranean cuisine, that has many benefits for our health. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, has relaxing properties, and can even stimulate digestion. Later in the article, you will learn why and when you should add the valuable saffron to your spice cabinet.

Common name: Saffron
Scientific name: Crocodile Sativus
Family: Iridaceae

 

Not to be confused with Safflower, which looks like this:

Safflower strands closeup

Safflower strands

Safflower vs Saffron Difference

 

Safflower and saffron are the spices made from the two flowers of two different plants. Safflower is made from

Carthamus tinctorius and  saffron is made from the threads of the Crocus sativus flower.

 

 

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

Safflower in the field

VS

 

Saffron ( Crocus sativus flower)

saffron flower in field

Safflower in itself is also a beneficial herb, but is nowhere near saffron in terms of price and chemical composition i.e health benefits. Not to mention saffron is incredibly difficult and labor intensive to produce, which contributes to its high price per gram. Safflower is a lower quality substitute for saffron, often sold as fake saffron on the market. Sellers often also use sunflower strands and sometimes other ingredients or plants, so make sure to pick high quality saffron from reputable sources.

Health benefits of using saffron

 

High Content Of Antioxidants

 

Used for thousands of years in folk medicine, saffron has many healing properties, including an extremely high content of antioxidants. Namely, the carotenoids contained in saffron provide these powerful antioxidants. Recent research even points to a possible link between saffron use and the fight against certain types of cancer.

It has relaxing properties

Saffron also has a calming effect due to its high magnesium content. It reduces spasms, and also has a beneficial effect on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. The sedative (calming) effect of magnesium, which is found in saffron, is also very useful in cases of anxiety or stress. Saffron is known as a remedy for depression.

And it is often used as a mood-enhancing tea. Some users even reported significant increased energy exposure and euphoria after using saffron. There were no known side effects from taking saffron in normal doses.

Saffron is also known to have strong nootropic effects, which means it can improve cognitive performance and memory function.

 

Promotes Proper Digestion

If consumed in small doses and used as tea, saffron stimulates and promotes good digestive activity by stimulating the liver. This also reduces the side effects of alcohol consumption.

Saffron is an excellent painkiller too.

Safranal, contained in saffron, also acts as a tranquilizer on the nervous system. It can be used to reduce gum pain, but it can also reduce menstrual pain and back pain, which are often associated with menstruation.

Nutritional value of saffron:

Per 100 g of saffron (keep in mind though, that 100 grams of saffron will cost you a little fortune, somewhere between $650-$1000, so for the nutrition info below just divide the numbers by 100 or 10 depending on how much you have bought, as usually people will purchase 1 gr to 10 grams at most.)

  • Water -11.9 g
  • Carbohydrates-61.5 g
  • Fat -5.85 g
  • Protein -11.4 g
  • Iron-11.1 mg
  • Magnesium 264 mg
  • Manganese -28.4 mg
  • Beta-carotene 318 mcg
  • Vitamin B6 1.01 mg
  • Vitamin B9 93 mcg
  • Vitamin C mg 80.8
  • Energy 352 kcal
  • Energy total of 1490 kJ
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The main nutrients contained in saffron are:

Iron

The iron contained in saffron contributes to the transport of oxygen in the body and contributes to the formation of hemoglobin.

Magnesium

Magnesium is found in large quantities in saffron and will act as a good muscle relaxant, so its use will be justified if you want to relieve cramps and muscle pain. Its calming effect will also be effective for better sleep.

Manganese

Manganese will provide you with a better absorption of iron, as well as strengthening the body’s natural defenses, including the liver.

Beta-carotene

The rich content of beta-carotenes (or carotenoids) in saffron plays a very important antioxidant role. This, in turn, will help in the fight against cell aging, and may also have an anti-cancer effect.

Vitamin B6

The presence of this vitamin will help your body in the synthesis of insulin, and also plays a role in preventing type 2 diabetes.

While the nutritional qualities of saffron are very encouraging, remember that it is only consumed in very small amounts, so other sources of vitamins and minerals should be added to your diet to fully cover your nutritional needs.

Using saffron in the kitchen: and some recipe ideas

 

What does saffron taste like

 

Saffron has a floral semi-sweet and slightly bitter taste, which can vary depending on the country of origin of the spice. You can find notes of honey and a bit of mushroom breath or even a musky aftertaste.

 

How to choose the right quality saffron?

 

First of all, you should prefer saffron filaments rather than ground powder, this is very important. If it’s in powder form you have no way to know what it could be mixed with. Also make sure that the aroma is similar to the smell of hay, and that its color is a beautiful deep bright red. Yellowish saffron powder is often low-quality saffron mixed with other spices, which further reduces its quality.

The real high quality saffron strands are dark velvety red in color, like shown in the image below:

high quality red saffon strands

Ideally, you should buy saffron without any noticeable yellow strands, but if you happen to have saffron with few yellow threads here and there it may still be of high quality. Just make sure there aren’t much yellow strands noticeable in your precious saffron like this saffron below:

High quality Saffron with few yellow strands
High quality Saffron in a wooden spoon

 

How to store saffron correctly?

 

As with most spices, saffron should be kept away from light and moisture in order to be better stored in its original state. The container in which you will store it should be well closed so that it does not absorb moisture and does not lose its smell.

How to Cook Saffron?

 

Don’t forget to chop a little or grind saffron to help it release more of its flavor and aroma if you bought it on threads (though you can use the strands as is too) . Add the saffron in the middle of cooking so that it can fully release its flavors without ruining its quality with too high temperature during a long cooking.

Saffron gives dishes a nice yellow color. You can use it to make paella, French boulonnaise or the famous Milanese risotto. It goes very well with fish dishes, seafood and rice in General. It is often used in combination with other spices, such as in the famous spice mix “ras el hanout“, which is added to couscous in Arab countries.

Also Read:  Easy Bangers and Mash Recipe

A little about the history of saffron

 

It comes from the Mediterranean region of Europe, and is a widespread condiment in many traditional folk medicines and decoctions, so many useful qualities have been attributed to saffron for centuries. It is widely used as a seasoning for dishes, but also as a flavoring agent and as a valuable preparation, depending on the country of origin and application.

Saffron is produced by separating and drying the threads contained in the flowers of Crocus Sativus. This is a very time-consuming procedure. The difficult extraction of saffron and the large number of saffron flowers that must be processed to get enough threads that will be useful in the kitchen (150,000 flowers are required to produce 1 kg of saffron threads) justifies the very high price of saffron. It is also actually one of the most expensive spices in the world more expensive even than gold.

Only the red strands are taken from the flower and each flower gives only one to three strands

two saffron strands from the flower

The high quality saffron has a nice deep red color of the strands

saffron has deep red color of the strands

How to Make Homemade Saffron Tea

 

Easy Saffron Tea Recipe

 

List of ingredients:

  • 1 liter of water
  • 6 to 9 g of green or black tea
  • 10 to 12 saffron stigmas

Use high quality green tea or black tea for an even better saffron tea flavor and benefits. Combine the nootropic effects of green or black tea and saffron and you will be on your way to better productivity, enhanced mood and improved general well being.

Saffron Tea Recipe Preparation:

  1. Add clean filtered water to a teapot:
  2. Put the water to boil.
  3. Put the green tea in the teapot filter and drop the saffron stigmas directly into the teapot.
  4. Pour boiling water. Cover and let the tea brew for 5-10 minutes. For Saffron, the more (longer) you let it brew, the better.

If you don’t have a teapot:

  1. Put the water to boil in a saucepan.
  2. Put the green tea in your tea ball(strainer).
  3. When the water boils, place the saffron strands in the pan with the hot water.
  4. Put your tea ball in the pan for about ten minutes.

If you want to make individual portions, count 2 saffron strands per cup (for a large cup). Sweeten to your taste with honey or with our crystallized sugar sticks for example!

Note: you should make sure the water is not boiling hot, but just hot enough to extract the beneficial components and flavor of saffron. If water is too hot this could destroy some of the healthy nutrients in saffron.

If you prefer to make just a simple traditional saffron tea recipe, then just skip the green or black tea and use only the saffron strands in your hot water.

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Saffron Tea Recipe - Health Benefits and Nutritional Value
 
Ingredients
  • 1 liter of water
  • 6 to 9 g of green or black tea
  • 10 to 12 saffron stigmas
Instructions
  1. Add clean filtered water to a teapot:
  2. Put the water to boil.
  3. Put the green tea in the teapot filter and drop the saffron stigmas directly into the teapot.
  4. Pour boiling water. Cover and let the tea brew for 5-10 minutes. For Saffron, the more (longer) you let it brew, the better.
 

Enjoy your healthy Saffron tea and reap the benefits ;-).

 

Easy Homemade Saffron Tea Recipe

Have you made this saffron tea recipe at home or used saffron strands in your meals before? Let me know and ask any questions in the comments below.

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