A SAFFRON flower contains three joined threads, but for our advice below, quantities refer to single separated threads.
A LITTLE saffron goes a long way. The basic method is to steep the
threads in hot water, milk or stock for at least 20 minutes, strain the
threads out and add the liquid to the dish being prepared.
Alternatively, the threads themselves can be added straight into your
cooking, though they still need time for the flavour and colour to be
released properly before the food is served. Grinding the threads in a
pestle and mortar, or when they are being steeped, squashing them
with the back of a teaspoon, releases more flavour and colour.
IT'S IMPORTANT not to overdo it with saffron, as with any spice. Too much
saffron is a waste of spice, gives food an artificial-looking colour and
an unpleasant flavour. Follow the guidelines in your recipe, but be
aware that Norfolk Saffron is
stronger than commercial brands of saffron in which a large amount of
the yellowish-white 'style' is present, low quality brands that contain a
high proportion of flavourless 'floral waste', and old saffron that has
been stored for many years before use. If you are experimenting with
saffron, 12-20 separated threads is often enough to give a good flavour
to many recipes for 4 people. Dishes with more highly flavoured
ingredients will need more saffron. Counting the threads takes longer,
but is more accurate and controllable, than using a “pinch” of saffron.
NORFOLK SAFFRON should be stored in a tightly-closed container in the dark, in a cool, dry place away from strong odours.