Learn how to bloom saffron once and forever. This technique never fails and has been in my family for years and years. There is so much you can do with bloomed saffron!
Saffron is used regularly in Persian recipes such as saffron rice, saffron chicken and of course, saffron ice cream. In order to make the most out of this expensive spice, I'm going to show you how to bloom it. My method is easy to follow and results in a golden and aromatic saffron concentrate that you can use in lots of different recipes.
Saffron, a Persian staple
Persian saffron is my one and only "must have" spice. I grew up in a home where my maman started making food early in the morning and the mesmerizing aroma of saffron always surrounded me, making me run into the kitchen while hypnotized by the gorgeous show of ingredients, aromas and my maman's magical hands and all the love that held us together.
A new method to bloom saffron
The way we bloom saffron in my family could be surprising for many Iranians. A common approach is to bloom it with hot water, which, in my opinion, shocks the saffron and doesn't give it enough time to bloom well.
In my kitchen, we actually sprinkle saffron on top of ice and let it melt at room temperature. Our reason for doing so is to give the saffron enough time to release its color and aroma as the ice melts. This is a no-fail method that I've been using for years and it always results in the best concentrated saffron.
Frequently asked questions
Harvesting saffron in an extremely labor intensive task. Each saffron flower (known as crocus sativus) produces only 3 stigmas which are the saffron threads we use. The whole process should be done by hand because of the delicacy of the flowers. To make one ounce of saffron, 4000 saffron flowers need to be harvested.
There is so much you can make with just a little bit of bloomed saffron. Here are a few of our favorite savory and sweet recipes using saffron:
Joojeh kabab - Persian grilled saffron chicken kabobs
Persian love cake
Tahchin – Persian savory rice cake
Zereshk polo morgh - Persian barberry rice with chicken
You can keep bloomed saffron in the fridge for up to 3 days. It's best to use it by day 3, otherwise it'll start losing its flavor and aroma.
To bloom saffron, you should always use ground saffron and never the threads. The traditional way to grind it is to use a pestle and mortar. Some would mix saffron threads with very little sugar and salt to make the process easier but I prefer to spend more time grinding it rather than altering the pure taste of it.
How To Bloom Saffron
- ¼ tsp ground saffron never use the threads without grinding them
- 2 ice cubes
- Place the ice cubes in a small bowl or jar. Sprinkle ground saffron on top of the ice cubes and let it sit in room temperature until the ice is fully melted.
- Use immediately or cover the bowl or jar and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
- It's advised not to use saffron during pregnancy. Please consult with your doctor before consuming saffron if you're pregnant.