Jean-Pierre’s advice, to get the best saffron flavor: SAFFRON is added gently to a dish, without an aggressive impact on the taste; SAFFRON does not dominate, instead it enhances and highlights; in addition, it colours the dish. You should find it in the back of your mouth, under your taste buds. Dosing is key : A highbrow recipe may recommend «Add 4 grams of SAFFRON». This is sheer madness. Your dish will be inedible and basically ruined. Or maybe your recipe remains vague. You may read: add a pinch, a few strands, a bit, a sachet, a dash, half a teaspoon of saffron. Now you understand that only a little bit is needed, not too much. Well done if you find the right dosage… By nature, SAFFRON is not an instant spice. I add a pinch of powder, I mix it and I taste my dish: THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR SAFFRON… SAFFRON needs time to heighten and develop the subtlety of its taste. In addition, it does not stand boiling or frying. Intense heat destroys its aromatic molecules and only the pigments remain. So, what is the best way to keep the spice intact? Infuse the saffron in advance! The universal dose of reference, with which you can work and experiment: 0.1 gram of SAFFRON for a dish for 4 persons. Once in your life… use tweezers to extract 45 stigmas of SAFFRON. Then, place them in a teaspoon and remember… Moisten 0.1 gram (45 stigmas) with steam. Let it cool down: put on a sheet of paper. With the back of a spoon, crush the SAFFRON stigmas. Add a tablespoon of hot water or milk for every 0.1 grams of saffron that you use. For instance 0.1 gram of SAFFRON = 1 tablespoon 1 gram of SAFFRON = 10 tablespoons LET INFUSE FOR 2 HOURS Now you know that 0.1 gram of SAFFRON corresponds with one tablespoon of infusion. If you do not use everything you have prepared, place the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep 10 to 12 days. As a spice, saffron is very appreciated in the following recipes: chicken tajine (beldi), veal meat tajine, dried meat tajine (Gueddid), couscous, pastilla, and of course in the traditional saffron tea that the local population serves to its guests. It is also used in mustard, omelets, pasta, biscuits, bread, cakes, meat and fish dishes, vinegar, paella, rice, etc.
In some cases scientists have found results which support this empirical knowledge: here are the results of 14 different studies on the effects of saffron on health. Sources and publications are in the report’s appendix «Publications on the medical applications of saffron,» which is available at ORMVAO, subdivision of Taliouine and Ouarzazate or at House of Saffron in Taliouine: firstname.lastname@example.org • Depression 1. Description of the research (Hausenblas et al., 2013): clinical experiments; use of saffron capsules (30mg / day) on the short term (6-8 weeks). Conclusion: The effect of saffron is the same as that of antidepressant medication (fluoxetine and imipramine) and better than placebo. 2. Description of the research (Moshiri et al., 2015): use of saffron tea for 4 weeks. Conclusion: score reduction according to Beck Depression Inventory (survey of 21 questions to measure the severity of a clinical depression). • Memory: Alzheimer’s disease Description of the research (Pitsikas et al., 2015): clinical experiments; use of saffron capsules (30mg / day) for 12-22 weeks. Conclusion: the effectiveness of saffron is the same as that of conventional drugs (donepezil or memantine) and better than placebo. Moreover saffron has less undesirable side effects than conventional drugs against Alzheimer’s disease. • Cardiovascular diseases Description of the research (Moshiri et al., 2015): several tests with animals; one clinical experiment. Conclusion: saffron and its components are promising to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) Description of the research (Moshiri et al., 2015): clinical experiments; use of saffron capsules (30mg / day) on the short term (2 menstrual cycles). Conclusion: reduction of PMS symptoms compared to placebo treatment. • Eye problems Description of the research (Piccardi et al., 2015): clinical experiments; consumption of capsules with saffron extract (20 mg / day) and curcumin for 14 months (long term) by 29 people suffering from age related primary macular degeneration in the early or moderate stage. Conclusion: improvement of macular function and quality of vision. • Diet Description of the research (Gout et al., 2010): consumption of saffron capsules (176.5 mg / day) for 8 weeks (short-term). Conclusion: greater decrease in body weight and reduction in frequency of eating snacks than the control group. • Blood Pressure Description of the research (Milajerdi et al., 2015): only experiments with animals; no clinical experiments; everything remains to be confirmed. Conclusion: the extract of saffron and especially crocin and safranal can have modulating effects on blood pressure. • Stomach and digestive problems Description of the research (Milajerdi et al., 2015): only tests with animals, no clinical experiments, everything remains to be confirmed. Conclusion: The extract of saffron and especially crocin and safranal may protect against stomach ulcers and can aid digestion. • Respiratory problems 1. Description of the research (Mokhtari-Zaer et al., 2015): only tests with animals, no clinical experiments, everything remains to be confirmed. Conclusion: the extract of saffron can have a relaxing effect on smooth muscles and an antitussive effect. 2. Description of the research (Bayrami and Boskabady, 2012; Boskabady et al., 2014): only tests with animals, no clinical experiments, everything remains to be confirmed. Conclusion: the extract of saffron and safranal can have a preventive effect on asthma. • Cancer Description of the research (Bhandari, 2015): only experiments with models in vitro and with animals, no clinical experiments, everything remains to be confirmed. Conclusions : o Gastrointestinal cancer: indication that an aqueous extract of saffron and crocin can be used for chemotherapy. o Colorectal cancer: indication that crocin inhibits the growth of cancer cells and thus could be used for chemotherapy. o Liver cancer: indication that saffron can prevent cancer (chemoprevention) o Pancreatic cancer: indication that crocin can prevent cancer (chemoprevention). o Prostate cancer: indication that saffron extract and crocin can prevent cancer (chemoprevention) and can be used for chemotherapy. o Cervical, ovarian and breast cancer: indication that crocetin can be used for chemotherapy or as a chemo-sensitizing agent for vincristine. o Skin cancer: indication that an aqueous extract of saffron can prevent cancer (chemoprevention). o Lung cancer: indication that an aqueous extract of saffron, an ethanolic extract of saffron and crocetin can be used for chemotherapy. o Leukemia: indication that safranal and crocin can be used for chemotherapy.
Some brands now use saffron in their cosmetic range of products for its softening and antioxidant effects. Saffron is mainly used in anti-wrinkle cream because it helps fight free radicals and revitalizes the skin. Yves Saint Laurent uses saffron from the Moroccan anti Atlas in the development of the cosmetic product “Or Rouge”. The introduction of “Or Rouge” in 2014 was accompanied by a promotion video in which the saffron harvest was shown and where they emphasized the many virtues for the skin of saffron : “YSL skin science has highlighted its legendary powers of revitalisation. A unique glycan at its hart. Or Rouge, rich and silky, the formula stimulates skin renewal to defy 11 signs of ageing. Resurfaced, recontoured and radiant, skin reveals its magnificence.” According to the brand YSL “the plant is known for its high concentration in glycans, which are key in a “fundamental renaissance” of the skin.” The French brand “Lift’ Argan” uses saffron of Taliouine in its anti-wrinkle treatments and markets its products in France via a network of shops and para-pharmacies at Parashop, Monoprix, Marionnaud, Nocibé and Galleries Lafayette, according to national ranking. The brand “Kesari” uses an extract of the petals of the saffron flower in its cosmetic products as an exclusive product with antioxidant properties. Combined with different active plants, “Kesari” markets four products: hydrating fluid, moisturizer, nourishing cream and anti-aging cream.
Saffron is a natural dye, it is one of the dye plants due to its high coloring strength: the stigmas contain a water-soluble yellow dye. In dyeing, it is easy to use, and does not require a fixating agent. Saffron is used to color textiles (silk, wool, cotton...), dresses, veils, carpets and as a colorant for makeup. This type of customer will be interested in saffron with a high crocin content. The use of saffron in the textile industry does not seem very common, but it is possible that creators who use organic cotton and natural dyes may be interested.