I don’t think saffron tastes at all. I’m a sucker for red Indian spices, but that doesn’t mean I would want it in curry or in a curry paste. There’s also that element of taste in it that can give you that sense that it’s a different type of curry that has a very different flavour profile. I find that saffron gets a bad rap for what it really isn’t, so for the sake of saffron lovers out there, you can just buy saffron in the shop, buy saffron petals, and enjoy it.
What is the best way to harvest saffron?
That’s a very interesting question, because I think the best way to extract the resin, and the best way to put it to use is in the kitchen with a little bit of patience. In fact, I use this technique on nearly all batches of saffron we make, but it all depends on what kind of saffron you have. It can either be very large, like the ones in my tea or the ones in the shops, or small, like the ones we get from home, and you need to be a bit careful about which ones you get, because some do go off in the tea. It’s a little more like wine, but it’s the same principle – to let the saffron steep for a long time, and to try and extract the resin and the flavour of the leaves, and for it to all come out of the leaves. It’s a little tricky.
Can you tell us more about the production process and how it’s different for each type of saffron?
Well, it really depends on what kind of saffron you have, because there’s a lot of varieties, but basically it is boiling water and the saffron, if you boil it for very long, really hardens, and that makes the juice much stronger, and you get a better resin [than the ones found in tea], because the sap does not go into the solution. It’s more of a soft, sticky liquid, and it’s basically what makes the tea smell so good. It can also be a little bit like wine – if you boil it very long and then cool it down it becomes a much softer, paler syrup. It’s more like a wine, but it’s stronger.
What kind of extraction technique do you use for saffron?
I use a very similar technique,
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