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Saffron: where does it come from, and what are its benefits?

Saffron: where does it come from, and what are its benefits?

Let’s find out everything about this spice: its properties, origins, benefits and how to use it in our recipes.

Saffron is a tasty and healthy spice which satisfies sight, taste and smell. It is often mistaken with a root, but it actually has a completely different origin. It comes from the three flower stigmas of the crocus. This plant blooms in autumn and it is purple.

People collect this precious spice is by hand, right after its blooming, and only in the first hours of the morning. If this operation happens after dawn, its flowers would be too open and stigmas could break. After the harvest, the stigmas are taken by hand, without using any machine. At this point, the drying process carefully begins.

In order to obtain 1kg of saffron, producers need 100.000 flowers and 400 hours of labor. This explains why this product is so expensive, just like gold. If you want to use something similar, you can replace saffron with turmeric. It is cheaper, but it is still tasty and healthy.

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Therapeutic properties of saffron

This scented and colored spice has thousands of benefits for our body, if taken in the right amount. Its properties are well-known in naturopathy and alternative medicine. Following, you will find everything about its main benefits.

Antioxidants properties. According to some researches, this spice also has anti-tumor properties, given by its particular color. Morever, it also improves learning capacities, slowing down the Alzheimer’s disease degenerative process.

Aphrodisiac properties. Saffron heals and prevents sexual dysfunctions. Moreover, it seems that taking this spice daily promotes virility.

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Antidepressant properties. It prevents anxiety and stress, while stimulating dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin production. By taking this spice, you can help your good mood and avoid anxiety or panic attacks.

Anti-aging properties. It fights free radicals and hinders the natural aging process, making your skin more elastic and toned.

How to use saffron in your risotto

In order to fully enjoy this spice, you should learn how to use its dried pistils. Soak about 120 saffron pistils in half a cup of lukewarm water for 40 minutes. In this way, they will release their color and aroma.

At this point, you can cook your risotto as usual. However, instead of seasoning it with a bag of saffron, you can add the pistils and the water. With 120 pistils you can season risotto for 6 people.

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