Saffron is a delicate reddish spice. It tastes like notes of aromatic honey, vanilla, and floral flavors. As it is handpicked, it is known as one of the most expensive spices in the world. At that price point, you might be wondering if saffron spoils, can it be frozen to elongate its shelf life, and how to properly store saffron to ensure quality.
The orange threads of this spice do not necessarily spoil, instead the potency is lost over time. If stored properly this spice can maintain flavor for up to 2 years. Saffron is best if stored in cool and dark place while avoiding constant air exposure. Freezing this spice will add a year to its two-year shelf life, if delicately stored.
Let’s have a detailed look on how to properly store and freeze saffron. We will also discuss how to tell if your saffron is still fresh and edible.
Does Saffron Go Bad? How Long Does Saffron Last?
Like all spices, saffron does have a shelf life. Saffron is a dried spice, for this reason there is an unlikely chance that it will spoil. The shelf life is more concerned with the pungency of taste. It’s best if this spice is store unrefrigerated.
How Long Does Saffron Last Outside
Saffron is usually purchased in an airtight glass container, saffron can be purchased in a ground form or as saffron blossom (strands).
When saffron blossoms are stored in an airtight container, they can be used for up to 2 years. The shelf life can be obtained provided they are stored in a cool and dark environment.
Ground saffron usually last for about 3 to 6 months. This would be best to purchase if you’re planning to use this spice quickly. Otherwise purchase whole saffron.
How Long Does Saffron Last in the Fridge
When storing saffron in the fridge, condensation may collect in the bottle due to the constant circulating air. It is important that this spice stays dry.
Saffron is photosensitive, with the constant opening and closing of the fridge, the light coming in and the light in the fridge is likely to cause saffron to lose its color and fragrance.
Due to these reasons, saffron is not a spice that can be stored in the fridge. If you purchase this spice in bulk, then house it in a cool, dry, and dark place.
How Long Does Saffron Last in the Freezer
Saffron can be frozen and the freezing process is not difficult. Purchasing saffron in bulk would entail a good reason to freeze it.
Saffron can be frozen for up to 3 years without losing its flavor and color. To check the potency of frozen saffron, crush a tiny amount between your fingers and take a whiff.
Once it’s frozen, you want to be careful with how the spice is handled. Be sure to place the spice in a place where it will not be crushed or constantly moved. Once the blossoms are crushed, the potency degrades thus reducing its self-life.
It’s best to purchase saffron at the amount that it calls for in the recipe. However, if you are purchasing the spice to just to have on hand, make sure to store it in a cool, dark, dry, and climate-controlled place.
How To Tell If Saffron Has Gone Bad / How To Know Saffron is Fresh
Each blossom of saffron is handpicked causing the labor to be extensive; imagine a pound of saffron consists of 50,000 to 75,000 threads! This is why saffron is as pricey as it is and for good reason. If you’ve had saffron in your cabinet for a while you may be wondering how to tell if it’s still fresh or if there are any indictors if spoilage.
Scent: This spice has bodies of aromas; an earthy floral vanilla scent should be what you smell when you open the bottle. If you find the scent is lacking, double check by crushing a thread between you fingers. If there is a little fragrance left then you can still use it, just up the amount. If there is not scent, toss it.
Texture: Dried saffron blossoms are a vibrant color of reds and oranges. As time goes on, the color fades and the threads begin to dry up. When crushed between fingers, if it’s excessively brittle and turns to dust, then it’s best to toss it.
Best by date: Saffron is usually safe to use 6 months to a year after the best by date. Though, before using in a recipe past this date, be sure to check the quality.
How to Store Saffron?
To ensure that the quality and integrity of saffron lasts, it must be stored properly.
Cool and dry area: Pick a cool and dry place, like the cupboard or cabinet. It should not be store in a spice rack that is near a cooking area.
In the dark: Saffron is sensitive to light, a dark storage place is vital.
In the freezer: If you purchase saffron in bulk, it can be stored in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Saffron? How?
Saffron can be frozen, it’s a very easy process. The aftercare is the most important process of freezing this spice.
Prepare the saffron: On a piece of paper, sort the saffron and remove any debris. Carefully wrap the threads in tin foil. This will deflect any light and aid in protecting it from air. Place the tin foil in an airtight container or freezer bag. Before placing the foil in the bag or container, wipe the inside with a dry cloth to ensure there is no dust or moisture.
Freeze: Place the container or bag in the freezer, be sure to place it in a place where it will not be frequently disturbed or knocked over, like the top of your freezer. Crushed saffron in foil can be a nightmare to unwrap.
Ready for use: When you are ready to use saffron that you’ve placed in the freezer, carefully remove the container or bag. Unwrap the foil, pluck a few strands then carefully and quickly put the remainder back in the freezer.
How to Thaw Saffron?
Saffron is a spice that does not need to be thawed. Placing in the freezer is another way to prolong its shelf life.
Saffron is a dried spice: Being that there is no water content in saffron, it does not freeze.
No need to thaw: There is no need to thaw saffron that has been housed in the freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Saffron’s Shelf Life
Saffron is a delicate spice that is used around the world. Some details about this spice can be confusing, here are two questions that are frequently asked and the answers to them:
Can saffron past the best by date be consumed? Yes, saffron can be consumed 6 months to a year after the best by date. Be sure to check for air moisture, scent, and taste before usage. There should be no moisture in the container, the smell and flavor should be vibrant.
How long does it take saffron to grow? Garden saffron varieties grow in 6 to 10 weeks. When the plant is farmed, almost a year is needed for it the grow and blossom.
Saffron is an amazing spice that can be used in several dishes. Be sure to store it properly to get the best shelf life. Freeze any bulk that you have on hand!