If you use saffron in the cooking process and tasted saffron, you must have enjoyed its soul-warming taste, astringent flavor, and probably know about its beneficial properties. But saffron is a rather expensive spice, due to its labor-intensive method of production, which is quite involving, and it may not be sold in supermarkets closest to your home. So, there is a question, is it possible to find a saffron substitute? Can we get the same color and flavor from other replacements of saffron? Perhaps it will also be real how to find a great cardamom substitute, in any case, it’s worth a try, and we will help you. Let’s figure out what is “saffron” and what it is eaten with.
Saffron is a plant and its stamen or stigmas are used to prepare saffron spice. It’s used as a spice for a wide range of dishes like risottos, paellas, and pilafs.
Besides that, it is also used to cooking desserts and preparing medicine that treats cough, asthma, sleep problems, and shock.
This herb is very useful, but what if you did not find it on the shelves of a store and really need it? In order not to be upset and not to go home empty-handed, we will find out where saffron is used for and in which case will be correct to use the best saffron substitute.
What are the uses of saffron?
An excellent antioxidant
Saffron has remarkable plant compounds like safranal, kaempferol, crocetin, and crocin, which act as antioxidants. These antioxidants play a crucial role in helping you to reduce oxidative stress. The reason behind the saffron red color is the presence of crocetin, carotenoid, and crocin pigments in it.
Treating depressive symptoms
Did you know that saffron can help you brighten your mood? Studies suggest that using saffron supplements helps to treat signs and symptoms of moderate and mild depression. Some other sources reveal that taking 30 mg of saffron daily produced the same results as taking Citalopram, Fluoxetine, and Imipramine. These are common drugs used to treat depression. Saffron proved to be a great substitute for these drugs.
You can add it to your diet
Besides using saffron for treating health issues, you can use it as a flavor in your diet. You need to add a few doses of saffron in savory dishes like risottos, paella, and also rice.
To get the best out of saffron when preparing food, you need to soak it in hot water then add the solution in your desired recipe. You can get saffron in powder form. However, it would be best if you bought its thread and prepare it yourself.
What to use instead of saffron?
The main question stills “What is a substitute for saffron?” Sometimes getting saffron can be hard, especially if you are on a budget. Other saffron replacements are affordable and readily available on the market. Let have a look at them below.
If you are looking for what to use instead of saffron to color ingredients, consider using turmeric. Turmeric is an awesome saffron replacement and is also known as the “saffron of the Indies”.
Some people use saffron together with turmeric so that they can reduce the costs. Turmeric has a saturated flavor that offers an amazing taste in food. To make your recipe better, consider adding paprika.
You might confuse safflower with saffron. However, there’s a slight difference between them. While these plants come from different families, it still offers the same vibrant color on your food the way saffron does. However, it won’t offer the same pungent flavor as saffron, but it’s pretty nearly.
Annatto is yet another replacement for saffron and is referred to as “poor man’s saffron”. To use it, add a teaspoon of these seeds on a quarter cup of vegetable oil or water. Then you can strain the liquid and use it in dishes like paella and risotto.
You can get marigold flowers from a local plant shop and plant it in your home garden. This will help you save on the money you would have used to buy saffron.
To use marigold, you need to pick off its petals and dry them for 15 seconds in the microwave. Crush it into powder using a pestle or motor. Marigold spice is quite flexible since you can use it in any dish and achieve similar colors like that you get from saffron.
Besides what we have mentioned, you might still be interested in getting another ground saffron substitute. Sometimes you may not like or be able to get annatto seeds, safflower, turmeric, or marigold blossoms.
You can use a cardamom substitute since it offers a flavor similar to saffron. Like turmeric, it offers the same color as saffron to your food and has amazing benefits to your health.
Saffron is an amazing ingredient thanks to its benefits and nice flavor. However, sometimes finding it can be very challenging. You may also find it to be too expensive. Now you know that you can confidently use a saffron substitute like safflower, annatto, and turmeric depending on the desired result.