How To Use Saffron Without Wasting The Spice.

Three seated framers harvest red Saffron threads amongst a table of purple flowers

Saffron has a reputation for being the most expensive spice in the world. It is a small reddish round spice derived from the purple crocus sativus flower. If you have purchased Saffron from a supermarket, you likely received Saffron threads.

But many people like myself, buy the spice on recommendations and still need to know how to use Saffron.

How To Use Saffron? Everything You Need To Know About It?

So what is it and what do you use saffron for?

This part of the flower is incredibly vibrant with wispy red filaments. Carefully hand-picked in production. These dried threads are used in various recipes as a flavor enhancer or as a food coloring agent.

What makes Saffron so unique is its chemical profile. These chemicals include Picrocrocin, Safranal, and Crocin. Crocin can sometimes give the Saffron a golden-yellowish color.

However, with further ado, let’s find out how to use Saffron in food.

Three seated framers harvest red Saffron threads amongst a table of purple flowers

Using saffron threads.


No doubt, fresh Saffron has a subtle taste and natural aroma. But a common practice is to toast saffron threads on the stove.

This aims is to dry the Saffron threads out which in turn enhances its flavor and color. In my experience, it works well, but there is a fine line between burning and drying the Saffron.

Cautiously, we suggest to not take your eyes away from the Saffron while heating; you don’t want to overheat and scorch them.

Overheating may result in roasted threads. The result will eliminate flavor or present the Saffron with an ash-like taste. For convenience, you can heat the Saffron threads in a dry skillet pan at medium-high heat.

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For enhanced taste, we suggest pre-steeping the Saffron. Preferably in an acidic, hot liquid like lemon or lime juice for at least 20-25 minutes. This is best done before adding them to your dish.

Following that, you can combine both the Saffron water and threads into your recipe.

Making Powdered Saffron For Cooking

To convert saffron threads to powder, you may need around 20 threads. This will produce about 1/6th tablespoon of Saffron powder.

Make sure to use high quality saffron threads and try not to buy ground saffron and avoid powdered saffron. You may want to schedule the steeping and toasting processes before powdering the Saffron. Doing so will give it that extra flavor boost.

To fine powder the Saffron, make use of a Pestle and Mortar. Alternatively, you can use a food processor if you’re in a hurry to get these gems into your cooking.

How to eat saffron?

I love to use saffron early in the day with my tea. I cant wait for lunch when cooking with saffron, and adding saffron for a touch of class to my evening meals with other spices is a habit.

Here is a list of foods that work well when a pinch of saffron is added to them, these are:

  • Wraps
  • Saffron in milk and hot water
  • Persian Saffron curry
  • Risottos
  • Seafood dishes
  • Ground Saffron baked-into campfire bread and damper
  • Puddings and Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) for added luxury
  • Stews, braised dishes that are done via campervan pressure cooker
    saffron rice dishes like saffron rice pudding.
  • And much more.

Eating Saffron doesn’t have to be boring. Additionally, you can also incorporate saffron with simple items to give them Pizazz like apples, cardamom, almonds, poultry, bone marrow and cream.

I almost forgot to mention my favorite. Saffron with Roasted Wild Mushrooms. Yum. Trust me; it tastes heavenly. Other complimentary options include cinnamon, lamb, white wine, vinegar, seafood, garlic, rose water, and citrus fruits.

Experiment. You can combine fresh herbs with Saffron like;

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro.
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Various other saffron tips to know about.

Close up of red affron threads in a jar next to a purple Saffron flower
Purchasing saffron is not cheap and if not stored in an airtight container saffron will gradually lose its vibrant flavour. When buying saffron look for products that come in specialised storage jars.

Saffron has been known to cause staining. If you don’t want your plastic or wooden utensils to look like horror film props, soak them straight after any Saffron contact.

The longer you steep Saffron, the stronger and more intense it will release its flavor. Experiment with timing and to let it steep for 12 hours and enjoy the robust Saffron flavor and aroma of it.

We hope this article on using Saffron spice was able to provide you with a few more ideas on how and where to use Saffron in cooking. These tips will go a long way to liven up your camping dishes.

No doubt that a touch of Saffron will help you turn bland recipes into luxurious hearty meals full of taste and color.

Have you ever eaten clover? Is Clover Edible? We cover that and more in this article here.

Close up of Saffron flower held in hand with many other puple flowers