What does saffron taste like?

In this brief article we will address the query,”What does saffron taste like?” We will look at what saffron is. We will also discuss the health benefits of saffron.

What does saffron taste like?

Saffron has a subtly earthy and a complex nuanced flavor. It is said to be sweet and similar to floral and honey. Saffron is among the most precious spices that you can use in your dish. It balances out a sweet and savory taste quite well and also adds a striking golden hue to all the dishes that it is used in.

However there are cheap imitations of saffron out there that tend to taste bitter, metallic or plastic and you should steer clear of them. Some amazing dishes that saffron can be used for include Saffron shrimp succotash, saffron buttermilk lemon pie and spanish seafood paella.

What is saffron?

Saffron, also scientifically  known as Crocus sativus L. is a spice that is made from the stigmas of a plant known as Crocus sativus, which is a member of the iris family. It originated from Asia Minor where it has been grown for thousands of years and used in traditional medicines, perfumes, dyes and most importantly as a spice in foods and beverages.

Good quality saffron can be gauged by the color of the saffron threads i.e the deeper the color of the saffron threads then the better the quality. If you find saffron that has a deep red color and orange tips then that is the best quality.

Threads of real saffron are usually very fine and evenly sized and have a yellow tendril on one of the ends and a flute on the other. The color of saffron threads is usually a deep red and the best quality saffron threads have a few yellow steam and are loaded with crocin which is one of the most important essential oils in saffron.

When saffron is ground it ranges from a red to red-orange color. Saffron is suitable for a wide variety of diets such as vegan paleo and gluten free diets.

Saffron is the most expensive spice that you can buy in the world with just a pound (450 g) costing anywhere between 500 USD to 5,000 USD. This is because it is very labor-intensive to harvest it which pushes the cost of production to be too high.

What are the health benefits of saffron?

It is a potent antioxidant

Saffron is an excellent source of a lot of plant compounds. These plant compounds act as antioxidants that aid in protecting your cells against any effects of free radicals by neutralizing them and also fights oxidative stress.

Some antioxidants present in saffron are:

  • crocin
  • crocetin
  • safranal
  • Kaempferol

The crocin and crocetin antioxidants double up as carotenoid pigments that are responsible for the red color in saffron. These antioxidants have the below health benefits:

  • They can help in the reduction of appetite
  • They assist in weight loss
  • They can relieve inflammation
  • They can help to protect brain cells and curb continuous damage
  • They  have antidepressant properties

The antioxidant safranal is responsible for the distinct aroma and taste. Studies have shown that safranal can aid in boosting the memory, mood and also assisting in the learning ability. Safranal can also help in protecting the brain cells against oxidative stress.

The kaempferol is present in the saffron flower petals and it has been associated with health benefits such as lowering inflammation and also possesses anticancer and antidepressant activities.

It possesses anticancer properties

As previously mentioned, saffron is loaded with antioxidants which aid in neutralizing free radicals which have been associated with a lot of chronic diseases such as cancers.

In studies done, saffron and its various compounds have been shown to destroy colon cancer cells or curb their growth and leave healthy cells intact and unharmed.

Other studies have also shown that crocin which is the key antioxidant in saffron to be able to make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy meds.

It may help reduce appetite and aid in weight loss

Saffron can assist in lowering the appetite and therefore reducing snacking and binge eating which increases the intake of calories.

In a study that sought to investigate the effects of saffron supplements in women it found that women that took them snacked less frequently and also lost more weight than women in the placebo group.

You can read more about the health benefits of saffron by clicking here.


In this brief article we have addressed the query,”What does saffron taste like?” We have looked at what saffron is. We have also discussed the health benefits of saffron.



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