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At one point in time in culinary history, saffron or kesar as it is locally known was considered to be the most costly and precious of all spices, prized only next to black pepper. Not that much has changed today... The unprocessed stigma of the saffron flowers cultivated in north India and grown mostly in the Jammu and Kashmir valley, is the base for kesar syrup. This dark yellow, thick syrup emanates a strong flavour and delivers a sweet taste due to the addition of sugar syrup. If you choose to make his syrup at home, ensure that the threads are red with orange tips. If the threads are completely red, chances are that it has been dyed and best avoided from being purchased. Always remember, powdered saffron is easier to use but saffron threads have to be immersed in hot water before they release both colour and flavour.
How to Select
• Kesar syrup is commercially available in plastic bottles via brands like Mala and Mapro.
• This syrup is also sold in glass bottles.
• Ensure that the seal is unbroken.
• Please read the manufacturing date to ensure maximum product freshness.
• On shaking the bottle saffron strands become visible. That’s the sign of purity.
• Kesar syrup in all its richness is generally reserved for special occasions.
• Indian sweets or mithais, such as Kesar Penda, Kesar Burfi, Kesar Pak, have saffron as the main ingredient.
• Milkshakes, ice creams like kulfi, are delicious when flavour red with kesar syrup.
• If your child doesn't favour the plain taste of milk, you could pour 1 tbsp of kesar syrup to a glass of cold milk with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Top up the ice-cream scoop with 1 tsp. of Kesar syrup. Apart from being tasty, this drink cools the body especially in summer.
• Kesar flavoured cashews, or any other nut of your preference can be made by dipping the nut of your choice in hot kesar syrup and allowing it to cool.
How to Store
• Until the seal is broken, store the unopened bottle in a cool, dry place at room temperature
• After breaking the seal, refrigerate the product to extend its shelf life.
• Since syrups contains a high amount of sugar, it acts as a preservative and ensures that the product has a long shelf life.
• Unopened bottles remain for a year with the flavour and taste of kesar intact.
• If these unopened bottles are stored in the refrigerator, it lasts for upto 3-4 years with the flavour and taste intact. However keep in mind the expiry date and use accordingly.