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Adelaide Hills Organic Saffron Biopark
Product of Australia
Known as a cooking ingredient in most countries in the world, the saffron crocus is beginning to find its place in the Adelaide Hills. Introduced into Spain by the Moors this makes it highly suitable for planting in our sunny and dry Mediterranean climate.
Saffron is the aromatic ingredient used in dishes as diverse as paella and bouillabaisse. It also finds its way into rice dishes and sweet treats on the Indian subcontinent and into Scandinavian feast day bread.
A very labour intensive crop to harvest it takes 14,000 of the red saffron stigmas to produce 1 oz of saffron. It is for this reason that it is regarded as the most expensive food product in the world.
Saffron has long been used for medicinal purposes. As with a lot of other herbs, saffron is also useful in the treatment of stomach and gastrointestinal disorders amongst other ailments. Below is a list of the therapeutic properties of saffron and some of the disorders that saffron has been known to treat.
Saffron stimulates digestion and soothes the stomach. It eases wind and lessens intestinal gas.
Saffron promotes menstruation and regulates periods.
Research shows that several components of saffron may boost memory and improve learning skills.
Saffron is an important antioxidant and helps to protect the body's cells against damage from free radicals.
How to use:
There are several basic methods of preparing saffron before using it in a recipe. The most common is to soak a pinch of saffron in a cup of warm water for at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours. On coming into contact with the water, the saffron will expand and the flavour is released and only then can it be added to the required dish. Other liquids may also be used for example stock, wine or milk.
Another method is to crush the saffron into a powder by using a pestle and mortar and then adding it to the dish or steeping it first in a liquid and then adding it to the other ingredients.
Finally, in dishes such as the "paella Valenciana", the saffron must be toasted first and then ground into a powder before adding it to the dish.
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