Using Saffron

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Saffron is typically used in small quantities—a few threads, or a “pinch”—and rehydrated in a small amount of warm or hot liquid before being added to a dish, in order to extract both flavor and color. The main pigment is water soluble, but the inclusion of some alcohol or fat in the extraction liquid will dissolve additional fat-soluble carotenoids.
Saffron’s color and flavor molecules are readily altered by light and heat, so this valuable spice is best stored in an airtight container in the freezer.