Saffron an Affordable Luxury

Saffron with Saffron Crocus Flowers

Saffron with Saffron Crocus Flowers

Saffron is too often passed by due to its cost. But, what if I told you that Saffron was just as effective at relieving depression as Prozac? According to a recent study this is true. This short 2 minute video summarizes what the study found when comparing saffron with Prozac. Additional studies show positive psychological effects with just the smell or Saffron. Others have shown the benefits of Saffron for relief of PMS. If one little plant can have this much effect, just think what a diet composed of all plants could do for improving your health.

Lori Fryd from West Orange, NJ posted this wonderful take on saffron on a John McDougall, M.D.s closed Facebook group this week. It is re-posted with her kind permission.

“The High Cost of Saffron: Unlike other spices, saffron is an extremely expensive commodity. I did a little research on how saffron is made and why it is so rare and costly. Apparently, it is painstakingly culled by fairies from the wings of angels and unicorns in the far-off reaches of heaven. It takes thousands of celestial beings working day and night for centuries to gather together a pinch of saffron for me to sprinkle, like gold dust, into my rice…or something like that.

Seriously, the stuff is NOT cheap.

Me? I’m not one for luxuries. I’m a basic-needs type person and I usually take the time to figure out the difference between what I want and what I need and spend accordingly. I don’t need much and I don’t live above my means.

But, when my supply of saffron starts to get low, I will uncharacteristically splurge $8 or $9 bucks on a new little bottle at the grocers and I don’t beat myself up about such a luxurious expenditure.

Here’s what I think: I am not spread out on a doctor’s reception room floor asking him why I am so dizzy I can’t stand up anymore (true story). I am not spending hundreds of dollars on prescription drugs anymore whose names I can’t pronounce and whose efficacy is questionable, at best. I am not pounding down the door of my local emergency room with uncontrollable tremors and I’m not being subjected to a battery of medical tests that never yielded clear results.

I am not sick anymore.

If sprinkling a little saffron-tasting fairy-gold dust on my rice or baked potatoes keeps me happy and satisfied with this way of eating, then I am bloody well going to allocate the monies I am not spending on endless rounds of useless doctor’s visits on a little saffron splurge. Anything that keeps me motivated on this lifestyle is money well spent. I won’t bemoan the cost of some highly-priced seasoning when this way of life has rescued me from debilitating illness and early death.

The difference between what I want and what I need has never been clearer to me. I may want the delectable taste of saffron once in a while but I NEED my health. If splurging on one helps me to maintain the other, then that is where my funds will go.

This reasoning extends far beyond the high cost of saffron, my friends. If it is going to keep me well and help me stay on this path, if it is going to maintain my happiness and sense of contentment with a lifestyle which has rescued me from the expensive clutches of the medical profession – if, in short, it is good for me – then it is well worth my hard-earned money.

In my opinion, there has never been a more savory bargain.

Love, Lori”

Saffron has been grown around the world for centuries. Even Henry VIII, who cherished the aroma of Saffron, condemned to death anyone who tampered with Saffron! It is even grown in the United States, mostly in California. Interestingly, as of 2011, Iran produced 96% of the world’s Saffron. Then again, if you love gardening and live in an area with cold winters and long dry summers, you may want to try growing it yourself. Learning how to grow Saffron requires a bit of patience but is well worth it. You can even grow it indoors if you are adventurous. If you decide to attempt to grow your own Saffron, keep in mind that Saffron crocus is poisonous so be cautious if you have children or pets. Why not give it a try and let us know how it grows for you?

The next time you are looking for a new way to spice up your rice, add a pinch of Saffron. Don’t use too much or it can become bitter. For the more adventurous cook, this yummy Vegan Saffron Risotto may be just the recipe to wow your family and friends. If you decide to make this Vegan Saffron Risotto recipe, consider eliminating the oil and use water to saute the vegetables to improve its healthful properties.

Saffron Flavored Rice

Saffron Flavored Rice

Saffron is known for being expensive but if you understand how it is grown and cultivated, you would wonder how it can be so inexpensive. Typical prices as of this post: Saffron Superior Spanish, 1 gr $18.09; Moroccan Organic Saffron, 1 gr $16.74; Spanish Powdered Saffron, 4 gr $22.40. If using powdered Saffron, use 1/4 of what a recipe calls for in Saffron threads. Saffron can be purchased online from many spice vendors. I can personally recommend these two: Savory Spice Shop and Penzeys.

I hope you try a bit of Saffron soon in your cooking. Now, I am going online and ordering some Saffron and a few other spices we need to replenish for our culinary enjoyment. I might even buy a few bulbs to plant in our yard.

Please share this post with others that may enjoy healthy cooking with spices or gardening.

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