Many of us, acquiring fragrant spices, absolutely do not think about their authenticity. But it often happens that unscrupulous sellers give out one seasoning for another. This happens with such spices as saffron and turmeric: thinking that it is the same, we buy cheaper turmeric under the guise of a valuable "colleague." Meanwhile, they can and must be distinguished.
Are saffron and turmeric the same thing?
In fact, turmeric and saffron are completely different spices, differing not only in appearance, taste and aroma, but also in their composition and beneficial properties. At the same time, according to these parameters, turmeric is seriously inferior to expensive saffron. That is why it is necessary to know the features of each of the spices, in order not to be deceived and not to buy expensive less valuable product.
Saffron can rightly be called the king of spices. He deserved such a title thanks to his exceptional valuable qualities. Saffron contains a huge amount of nutrients, is able to cleanse the liver and blood, improve the digestive, cardiovascular system and visual organs, improve immunity and improve the entire body, improve mood. This is a unique herbal medicine and the most expensive spice of all existing.
The high cost of saffron due to the complexity of its production. They get spice from the stigmas of crocus flowers, which are grown in Iran, India, China, in the Caucasus. Each pale lilac flower has only 3 orange stigmas that are plucked by hand and then dried. To get 1 kg of this seasoning, you need to process 300,000 colors! Therefore, saffron is usually sold in small portions. If you want to give 20-30 g of spices at a relatively low price, this is an occasion to think.
Saffron is used both in the whole form and in the hammer. Exquisite aroma and incomparable taste of this spice have caused its huge popularity in cooking. Especially often it is used for the preparation of desserts and confectionery products, adding both to the cakes and various creams. In Eastern countries, saffron is an extremely popular seasoning for meat and poultry dishes, as well as rice and vegetables. In Europe, they are often seasoned with fish and added to dairy products, since this spice helps the body absorb milk better.
Saffron is not included in the composition of spice mixtures, as by itself it has a rather bright and strong taste and aroma. In order not to spoil the dish by the obvious presence of spices, it is used in microscopic amounts and most often in the form of solutions (diluted with the stigma of flowers and let it brew).
Due to the ability of saffron to give the dish a pleasant golden hues, it is used as a natural dye (for pilaf, cheese and even drinks - tea, coffee, liqueurs and tinctures).
In addition, saffron is involved in the production of medicines and perfumes.
Turmeric is a simpler and cheaper seasoning. It is much easier to get it than saffron: it is not flowers that are used for this, but the rhizome of a herbaceous plant of the ginger family. Therefore, turmeric is produced in much larger quantities than the "king of spices". First, the rhizome of the plant is boiled, then dried and ground. Spice is sold only in the form of a yellow or light brown powder. The spice has a sharp, slightly burning spicy taste and the characteristic smell of pepper.
Turmeric is often called "Indian saffron": its homeland is India. There, this spice can be found at every corner, it is added to almost any food and drink. Now turmeric is popular all over the world, from South America to Asia.
Turmeric does not possess such valuable qualities as saffron, however, this spice is used in many areas, including cooking, cosmetology and medicine. It has a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract, gall bladder and liver, is an excellent antiseptic, thins the blood and lowers sugar.
Due to the availability and comparative cheapness, as well as the pronounced spicy taste and aroma, turmeric has become a very popular seasoning. Among other things, it has the property to increase the duration of storage of the product.
Where to add this spice? Turmeric seasoning is the main component of the curry mixture, which is used to prepare hot vegetable dishes and soups.
As an independent spice, it can be added in small quantities to any meat or vegetable dish, to a paste. Seasoning combines well with legumes, seafood, eggs, giving them a piquant bitter taste.
Turmeric also has coloring properties, so it, like saffron, is used to color drinks, cheeses, butter and various sauces, as well as potatoes, rice and poultry meat.
This spice is added to tea and even brewed separately, used when kneading dough for baking.
How to distinguish between real saffron and substitutes?
In order not to be mistaken with the choice of seasoning, you need to remember a few points.
- Two spices are similar only in a crushed form, so buying a more expensive product in the form of powder is not recommended. Most often, the spice saffron is sold in the form of whole stigmas of red-brown or burgundy, soft to the touch. However, they can even fake them. To do this, use the dried and cut the petals of other plants. These crocus stigmas have the appearance of dry downward-expanding tubules. Their bitter smell can be felt even through the packaging.
- Ground saffron can also be distinguished from turmeric. The particles of its powder differ in color (from light yellow to red-brown), in shape and size, while ground turmeric has a uniform consistency and yellow color.
Having learned that saffron and turmeric are not the same thing, and applying the knowledge gained in practice, you can distinguish one spice from another and acquire real saffron - the most expensive spice in the world. Having tried once, you will be able to appreciate it and you will never confuse it with anything else.