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Cheap Saffron

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

On my last shopping spree at the Asian market, I picked up a 1/2 oz package of "Azafran" for $2.  As you might have guessed this wasn't the meticulously separated bright red threads that you pay 50 times more for.  The cheap stuff definitely isn't pure, it had yellow junk mixed in with the red.  That said, I decided to give it a whirl tonight making some quick paella out of leftovers.

 

Not wanting to add the junky saffron straight to my sofrito, I steeped a monster pinch of the stuff (probably 5x more than with "good" saffron) in some hot water and strained it into my rice.  I had no idea how pure the saffron was and thus had no idea how much to add but I was pleasantly surprised.  My rice turned bright yellow and had a potent saffron flavor.

 

Anyone else have experience with crappy saffron like this?  I'm going to have a hard time paying big bucks again after this experience.  Its certainly less pure, but its way cheaper and you get much much more of it!

post #2 of 10

Thank you so much for the tip BW.  I have quite a few rcipes that call for Safron and have made it without because it is just too darn expensive.  I will give that a try.

 

Thanks Again,

Kelley

post #3 of 10

Saffron is one of those things I don't cut corners with.

 

If I'm just looking for color, tumeric substitutes quite nicely. But when flavor is important, I bite the bullet and go with the true gelt.

 

Our friends in San Francisco (both BDL and I have posted the link before) are currently selling Persian saffron for 80 bucks an ounce. Still expensive, true. But compared to buying it in those little containers a real bargan. One local place is getting fourteen+ bucks a gram---which works out to about $400/ounce.

 

Benway, just out of curiousity, about what percentage of the mix would you guess is yellow tendrils instead of red?

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 10

Hi, fake saffron also has a yellow color but that isn't natural coloring!!

 

As Saffron is worth its weight in gold, for years, scandalous merchants have either "cut" the product with various additives, added water or oil weight, and simply tried to pass off cheap imitations as the real Saffron...

 

Read more at http://www.zargolsaffron.com/fake-saffron-beware.htm

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

I estimated that my pinch was about 5x more than I would usually use and it came out a little bit stronger than I would have liked.  My guess is my pack is about 10% good stuff.  I wouldn't add this with all the floral waste to a dish but for $4 per ounce versus $80 per ounce I don't mind buying it with the waste.  I'll also note that I'm guessing this pack contains Iranian saffron.  I'm used to the Spanish variety and in comparison this saffron has a higher ratio of flavor to coloring.

post #6 of 10

That's why Iranian (Persian) is considered the best saffron in the world, Benway. It's got a deeper, richer flavor than the Spanish.

 

Using your figures, you're paying about half what I do (i.e., if you toss out the crap you'd need ten ounces to equal an ounce of pure). So, if you don't mind dealing with the yellow (which, generally, does not have much, if any, flavor), you're getting a pretty good deal.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 10

SPAMMER!!!! :bounce:

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post
 

SPAMMER!!!! :bounce:

Acknowledged!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #9 of 10
This "azafran" you find at ethnic grocery stores is actually from a plant called safflower. It doesn't have any real saffron in it. It does taste and look similar.
post #10 of 10

Don't forget achiote oil as another cheap saffron imitation. 

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