Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world; hence extra care needs to be taken while storing saffron. Moreover, it is the aroma of saffron that gives it the special status, and if this pleasant aroma is lost due to poor storage. The very purpose of using saffron would be lost. Storing saffron in a proper manner helps preserve its freshness, taste and aroma for a long time. Saffron is highly sensitive to light. Its one of the reasons why harvest of its flowers is before sunrise. When saffron is exposed to light, it stands to lose its aroma and taste.
Why storage important ?
Crocin is the only natural chemical in saffron, responsible for coloring. Crocin is found only in the red portion of saffron threads. When saffron is fresh, the amount of Crocin in the saffron threads is the highest. As saffron ages, Crocin converts itself to another chemical compound called Safranel which is responsible for aroma. This explains why saffron that is aged a bit has more aromas. No matter how you store your saffron, you can not stop this ageing process or transition (freeze dry? maybe but we have no information on that). However, certain conditions in the environment where saffron is stored will accelerate this transition or aging process.
These conditions are heat, moisture and light. Therefore, to get the most life out of your saffron you need to slow down this transition or put the saffron into hibernation. It is recommended to store saffron in a cool, dry and preferably dark place.
What kind of box is good for storing saffron?
Crocin really is the blood of saffron, and once it is gone, the coloring power, aroma, and flavor are too, and the Saffron is considered useless. You should also know that this aging process will take many years if saffron is stored properly. Saffron ages gracefully so do not panic. Many chefs keep their saffron in their desk drawer and saffron stays just fine. You can keep your saffron with your other spices on the kitchen shelf but try to use it within two years. Hence in order to retain saffron taste and aroma. It is vital to store it in an airtight container.
Therefore, Store saffron in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months for maximum flavor. If stored properly, the aroma of saffron can be retained for at least a year or so. It is better to store saffron in special airtight glass jars that have special lids. Saffron, like other herbs and spices, is sensitive to light, so wrap the packet in foil to protect it further. Saffron will not spoil, but it will lose increasingly more and more of its flavor with age.
Does it help to keep your saffron spice in a refrigerator?
According to the saffron experts, environment temperature for storing saffron should not exceed 20C (68F) and humidity must not be above 40 percent. Refrigeration is not recommended as it will collect moisture faster once it is out of the refrigerator unless you use all of it immediately. A refrigerator contains a slight humid environment which could alter the flavor of your saffron. We do not recommend this storage method for saffron. However, as long as your saffron is stored in an air tight container, you can keep larger quantities in the freezer.
What is the shelf life?
However well you pack, preserve and store organic saffron, it should not be kept for more than two years. In order to prevent exposure to light and air, it is better to wrap saffron strands in aluminum foil, which can then be placed in the smallest container so that there is not much air circulating inside.
Where to store saffron ?
Store the bottled saffron in a cupboard, preferable a wooden cupboard as metal can get heated during summer. Saffron is best stored in a cool, dark place, where no source of light, artificial or natural can reach. Do not store saffron in a refrigerator as genuine saffron tends to absorb moisture easily once it is exposed to room temperature. If you must store it in a refrigerator, remove only the required quantity and place the container in the fridge immediately, so that moisture loss is reduced.
At the end here are some of the best tips for storing saffron:
- Dry the saffron
- Use the right container
- Keep saffron away from light
- Use the right cupboard
- Watch your storage temperature