Saffron, Our greatest treasure, with all the aroma and flavour of Spanish cooking, try it In our glass protected jar 1 gram (0.035 oz) of threads saffron. You can make this exclusive spice an indispensable ingredient in all your original paellas.
Carmencita is one of Spain's most recognisable brands with its ranges of spices gracing most food shops.
Commonly known as "red gold", saffron comes from the stigma of the flower Crocus sativus, and to produce a Kilogram of the spice, it is necessary to pick more than 150,000 flowers. Taking into account that the whole process, not only the harvest of the flowers but also the seperating of each stigma by hand, it is easy to understand why saffron is the world's most expensive spice.
More flavour, more colour, more aroma
The beautiful colour that saffron threads add to your cooking, and the slightly bitter flavour they add, are due to a series of water-soluble pigments. For a correct use of saffron you have to make the most of it, and try to keep in mind that by using more saffron you won't get any better results.
Is there anyone who has ever tried to prepare paella by tossing a few saffron threads over the rice? The result is frustrating; a plate of whitish rice with some yellowish spots spreading out from just where a bit of saffron has fallen.
Experienced consumers roast the threads so that all their subtelties can emerge. The most traditional method consists of wrapping the threads in a piece of paper and placing them on the hot lid of a cooking pot. After a few seconds of heat you need to crush them with your hands or in a mortar and pestle.
A more modern version is to toast the saffron threads in a microwave for 25 seconds, and when they become brittle, grind them. Afterwards, they can be dissolved into a hot liquid such as water or milk, this is because saffron doesn't dye fats, but does transmit its aroma and flavour. We only have to add the saffron to the foods we are cooking a couple of minutes before turning off the heat. If you follow these instructions, the aromatic properties of the saffron will increase and the colour will spread out more uniformly into your food.
Saffron has an expiration date, and it absolutely refuses to be kept forever without being used on a spice shelf. It loses all its properties with the passing of time. We also need to know that there are different kinds of saffron with very different characteristics depending on their origin and the floral remnants they contain, and, as we have mentioned before, the quality will be reduced according to the percentage contained in the product.
When keeping saffron there are some rules to be considered as it loses aroma in contact with humidity and colour is decreased when exposed to light. However, in the past, the threads were wrapped in cotton handkerchieves and kept in metal boxes.
It is an essential ingredient in original paella and fideuà (Spanish noodle dish). What would the traditional paella be without its sunny colour?