The Herb Stop Blog
Saffron vs. Safflower: The Differences, Health Benefits, and More
Saffron and safflower. These two ingredients are often confused, and it’s easy to see why.
They are both used in cooking, sound similar, and can be easily mistaken for each other visually. Despite their name, saffron and safflower are not related in any way. However, they are commonly mistaken for one another, which is why we want to take the time today to clear up any misconceptions about the two.
Keep reading to learn more about the differences between saffron and safflower and their various uses and health benefits.
Saffron vs. Safflower: The Differences
Both safflower and saffron have a vivid pigment that can give any dish you’re making a bright color. However, saffron only needs to be added in a small quantity to your food for a bright effect, while safflower will need to be added in a much larger amount to achieve the same result. Likewise, you only need a touch of saffron to flavor a dish, while safflower will need to be used in a more considerable amount to get similar results. Saffron has a potent, distinct flavor that some compare to honey, while safflower is milder and frequently compared to a sweet taste, like chocolate.
Another similarity is that saffron and safflower are both red. However, you may notice that saffron has a slightly more delicate color when comparing the two closely. Safflower tends to be more orange-red and Saffron is a deep dark red. Safflower also is typically made up of petals, while saffron is made of stamens.
Cooking with Saffron and Safflower
Throughout history, saffron has been one of the world’s most expensive spices because of the time-consuming way that it must be hand-picked. On the other hand, safflower is much less costly and is often used as a saffron substitute in recipes for those looking to save money.
Many say that saffron and safflower can be used interchangeably. Just make sure you account for the differences in strength. If you’re replacing saffron with safflower, you’ll need to use much more safflower. Likewise, if you’re replacing safflower with saffron in a dish, you’ll need a much smaller amount to achieve the same effect.
Saffron or safflower both give food a beautiful, vivid yellow color. So, if you don’t enjoy the taste of one of these spices but still want to color your food yellow, try using the other spice to create a similar effect.
In cuisine, saffron is frequently used in Mediterranean, Indian, and Arabian dishes. It’s frequently used to flavor rice dishes, paella, risottos, and more. Safflower isn’t as well known, but it’s still popular among many cooks, especially in Spanish, Indian, Mediterranean, or Middle Eastern countries. Many will use Safflower for omelets, sauces, meats, and even making teas more fragrant.
If you’re interested in trying one or both of these delicious species out, check these out:
- Safflower Petals: Our Safflower Petals spice will give your food a beautiful, rich color and sweet aroma. Safflower is an excellent swap for saffron that is much less expensive and still incredible in grains, egg dishes, dressings, sauces, fish, meat, and more.
- Saffron Coupe #1 Grade from Spain: Famous for being the world’s most expensive spice, saffron is a delicious spice that adds a unique, memorable flavor to many dishes. Try it on meat, rice, grains, fish, salads, eggs, and more!
Safflower Health Benefits
Safflower has long been used in traditional Indian medicine for various applications, including laxative effects, treatment for rheumatism, numb limbs, psoriasis, mouth ulcers, and more. Recent studies have shown a positive impact on participants consuming safflower regarding their musculoskeletal system, digestive system, and cardiovascular system. Scientists are also interested in its antimicrobial properties and antioxidants effect, which may help slow down or inhibit the progression of certain diseases. This research definitely excites us, and we can’t wait to see what future studies continue to uncover about the health benefits of safflower!
We offer a handful of safflower products designed to support the body and mind:
- Gout Go Out Capsules: These capsules combine safflower, red clover, and a variety of other herbs to ease the symptoms associated with arthritis and gout. The herbs in this blend are also supportive for healthy kidney and liver function and a calmer nervous system.
- Gout Go Out Tea: If you prefer drinking tea, try this alternative to our Gout Go Out Capsules. This tea is excellent for supporting healthy digestion, a calmer nervous system, and easing the symptoms of gout and arthritis.
- Jump Start Tea: Looking for something that will get you up and at ‘em quickly in the morning? Try our Jump Start tea, which is caffeinated with Yerba Mate and Black Tea. The Cacao Nibs and Safflower sweeten this tea and give it a beautiful color when brewed.
- Deep Sleep Tea: This ultra-relaxing tea combines lavender, chamomile, safflower, and more to leave you feeling calmer and refreshed upon awakening in the morning. If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, try this tea to support your mind and body during your sleep. Drink right before bed for the best results.
Saffron Health Benefits
Saffron has been used in traditional medicine for many years, and science has continued to demonstrate many of saffron’s health benefits.
Recent studies have shown that saffron, which is rich in antioxidants, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Due to the many flavonoids found in saffron, it was found that saffron can provide extra protection against cardiovascular disease. The participants in this particular study also showed overall improved health, even in those with an existing cardiovascular problem, which is an incredible find!
Another studied benefit of saffron is its anti-inflammatory benefits. Based on this study, saffron was shown to act as an immunoregulatory agent, which helped participants with immune disorders. Saffron was also found to help reduce inflammation in the immune system.
Besides adding saffron to your food, we also recommend checking out our Restful Being Essence, which has a calming and uplifting effect on the body and mind. Many of our clients with hyperactivity, ADD, or a type A personality, find this essence soothing. We also frequently recommend it to people in high-stress jobs, such as individuals in the military, police force, etc.
We hope this piece cleared up any confusion about the differences between safflower and saffron. Both have great uses for soothing the body and making delicious food!
Until Next Time,
Natalie and Leilah