As you may know, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Because of this, many people may be tempted to hoard their saffron and make it last as long as possible. But, as with many other spices, saffron does have a shelf life. While spices past their prime may still be safe to eat, older spices tend to lose flavor and fragrance. To get the most out of your red gold, it’s important to consume while it’s still fresh. So how long does saffron last? And what is the best way to store it so it stays fresh as long as possible?
How Long Does Saffron Last?
The shelf life of saffron will depend on a few factors, mainly the form it was purchased in, and how it is stored. Generally, saffron should be used within 1-3 years of purchase to maintain flavor, aroma, and potency.
How Can I Tell if My Saffron is Still Good?
Check your saffron before use to make sure it is still good. Rub a small amount of it between your fingers to release the aroma. If the smell is faint or nonexistent, the saffron is likely too old to provide the quality you should expect from saffron. Saffron has a signature red-orange color and if your spice appears to be faded or off color, it may have lost some of its potency. If your saffron appears clumpy, or stuck together, it is likely that moisture has gotten into the container and it's time to replace it with fresh saffron!
Is it Better to Buy Whole or Ground?
Ground saffron can certainly come in handy when you want to quickly add a bit to your tea or add a boost of antioxidants to your smoothie. Many people choose ground saffron because it dissolves more easily than threads. Unfortunately, ground saffron is likely to lose its flavor more quickly than the threads. If you want to keep your saffron as fresh as possible, purchase whole threads and then grind it as you need it. It’s also not recommended to grind up a large quantity of saffron threads to store for quick use in the future. Keep your saffron threads intact until you’re ready to use them for the best flavor!
How to Store Your Saffron
Keep your saffron in a dry place, away from sunlight and excessive heat. Saffron should be stored in a tightly sealed jar. Always make sure the saffron container is completely closed after you use it to eliminate moisture and air from seeping in. You may be tempted to store your saffron in the refrigerator to prolong its life, but this can potentially cause your saffron to absorb moisture easily and go bad quickly. If you do need to keep large amounts of saffron in your fridge or freezer, it's important to minimize the amount of time it is exposed to air. Remove the saffron you need for your recipe and quickly put the sealed container back in the fridge or freezer.
Other Tips to Protect Your Saffron:
- Wrap saffron (and other spices!) in foil to help protect the spice from light damage.
- Avoid holding the jar over the stove when measuring or adding saffron to your recipe. The steam from cooking can get into the saffron container and possibly ruin it!
- Make sure to buy your saffron (whole or powdered) from a reputable dealer to ensure it does not contain additives, such as turmeric or safflower.
What Does Zaffrus do to Make Sure Our Saffron is Delivered Fresh to You?
When it comes to making sure the saffron is delivered fresh to our customers, we take it very seriously, from storage to packaging.
Our saffron bank contains units of bulk saffron in tightly sealed packaging at a low humidity, and its temperature is between 50-65 F degrees. When it's time for production, we bring the room humidity down so that it is not more than 30% humidity.
To minimize the chances of moisture coming in contact with saffron, we have added a small 1 gram FDA grade silica gel to absorb humidity in the each container of saffron threads or powder. Additionally, each product comes with 80 - 100 gauge shrink wrap around it to help with humidity control.
Our customers our amazed at the amount of detail we put into our product packaging and have praised it in most of the online reviews!
Need to use up your saffron? Click here for 5 Easy Recipes Using Saffron!