“Saffron is the spice that gives spices their distinctive smell and flavor,” says J. Thomas Kennedy, a culinary consultant and author of a New York Times guide to spicy foods.
While some food-related websites and blogs have claimed saffron can save hundreds of dollars per pound, Kennedy says that’s simply not correct. In reality, his research has shown that saffron can cost up to $100 more than the price tag says it costs to grow it.
“Saffron is a versatile spice that is often used in a variety of dishes,” Kennedy says. “Some people say it’s the secret ingredient behind ‘hot’ foods, but we can’t rely on that. The spice-makers have been known to adulterate the spice with other ingredients that aren’t saffron, such as a variety of spices.”
“In terms of the price, saffron is not the magic bullet,” he says. The best advice, he says, is to buy saffron online and make your own saffron in a small kitchen, where it has time to ripen.
Saffron is also relatively easy to grow, according Dr. Michael Walser, director of the Center for Food Preservation at Cornell University. His research shows that growing saffron is as easy as making a simple water and yeast bath.
The best part about growing saffron, according to Kennedy, is the fact that it’s easy to grow, regardless of temperature. “Saffron only requires water and heat to germinate,” says Kennedy. “All you need is water and a fan.”
How much should you be eating with saffron?
There’s no definitive answer for how much you can eat with saffron without worrying about the health risks, but the current government-set guidelines suggest drinking no more than 100 grams a day. The government says you should consume no more than 2,500 milligrams per day.
According to the Cornell study on saffron, this would mean you’d need to consume no more than 800 milligrams of vitamin C, and 600 milligrams of vitamin A. If you did not already take in any vitamin C or A and were currently consuming a daily vitamin, you would need to consume 800 milligrams.
The researchers found that consumers would need to consume more than 1,900 milligrams of vitamin B12 and more than 1,800 milligrams of
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