the most precious and most expensive spice in the world: Saffron.The Saffron filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower,
“Crocus Sativus Linneaus”. Each flower contains only three stigmas. These threads must be picked from each flower by hand, and more than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just one pound of Saffron filaments, making it the world? But, because of saffron’s strong coloring power and intense flavor, it can be used sparingly. Saffron is used both for its bright orange-yellow color and for its strong, intense flavor and aroma.Saffron is marked by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these result from the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. A carotenoid dye, crocin, allows saffron to impart a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles. Saffron has further medicinal applications.
Tea sometimes referred to as an infusion or “steeping” saffron. This is exactly the same principle you use in making any tea – the longer the saffron steeps, the stronger its flavor, aroma and color.Where saffron preparation differs from tea is that you can release saffron effectively in hot liquid such as water, broth or milk or in room temperature white wine, vodka, rosewater, orange blossom water, white vinegar or citrus juice.
In other words, saffron’s chemicals respond positively to hot liquid or room temperature alcohol and acids (citrus).
The amount of liquid is not important; use whatever is called for in your recipe or adds just a teaspoon or two of hot water to a recipe, which will not harm it.
Then put the threads or powdered saffron in the liquid and leave it for a minimum of 20 minutes before you add this “tea” to the recipe. Do not remove the saffron threads from the liquid.
They continue to release aroma, flavor and color for up to 24 hours which is why affronted dishes and breads always taste even stronger as leftovers. With more flavor, aroma and color release than you would otherwise have, steeping saffron is the most economical way to use this spice.
Once you get comfortable cooking and baking with saffron, you will find the longer you steep your saffron, the less you will need per recipe.
A special note about toasting saffron: do not do it! It is unnecessary to dry saffron any further because it has already been processed to exactly the right dryness for either steeping or crushing into powder.
The only reason you might read elsewhere that saffron threads should be further dried prior to use is that lower grade saffron may contain too much moisture for good release of its aroma, color and flavor.
The Saffron Tea Recipe
Ingredients ：3 cups water ；1-1/2 cups fresh milk ；12 strands of saffron ；2 cardamoms crushed ；2 tablespoons of tea powder (or 6 teabags of your choice) ；4 teaspoons of sugar ( or adjust as required)
Directions ：Soak saffron for a few minutes in a little warm water, rub well until dark golden color develops. Heat the water, milk cardamom and saffron in a clean pot until the mixture comes to boil, simmer for 5 minutes, allow the golden color and superb aroma of saffron to develop, then add tea powder ( or tea bags) and boil again for few minutes. Strain into 4 tea-cups and add a few strands of saffron for decoration