Thursday, August 05, 2010

Saffron Tea

By Alexandra Hoover

Saffron is arguably the most expensive spice in the world; nevertheless, it is well worth adding to your tea for an amber colored, health-inducing, flowery experience. In Taliouine, the “saffron capital” of Morocco, purple saffron flowers are found all over the hills in the fall. Only the orange female parts of the flower’s stigma are used in the spice, however. Although not everyone in Morocco drinks saffron tea (mainly for monetary reasons), it is appreciated for its high quality and powerful flavor.

To make saffron tea, either mix the spice in hot water or use saffron tea bags. Cumin may be used as substitute, if desired. Try following this recipe to make “loose-leaf” saffron tea:

You will need 6 green cardamom seeds, 4-6 teaspoons of sugar, 4 cups of water, ½ teaspoon of saffron threads, and 8 teaspoons of loose, black tea. Once you have collected all of your ingredients, start boiling the water. Immediately add the six cardamom seeds, saffron, and sugar. Simmer until half of your water is left. Bring the water to a boil again. Place the loose black tea in the pot and allow it to steep for 8 minutes. You can serve the saffron tea hot or cold, although the traditional way involves drinking it hot.

In addition to its remarkable taste, saffron tea is consumed for its health benefits, as well. People drink this particular beverage to relieve respiratory illness, depression, and insomnia. Research suggests that the crocin and safranal in saffron help relieve some of the problems related to behavioral disorders.

Saffron tea is also consumed as a way to help with arthrosclerosis, which can harden one’s arteries from plaque build up. In general, saffron tea makes people feel relaxed after they drink it. It has been shown to stimulate people’s stomach muscles and cleanse the body of toxins.