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May 1, 2007 10:32 AM

Costco - Saffron? [Moved from Home Cooking]

This is kind of an odd thing, perhaps...

I was just at Costco last night and spotted an interesting new jar in the spice section at Costco. Saffron, in a sort of small, rounded jar, wrapped in orangy/yellow cellophane. It was about 30 bucks, for what it said was an ounce of saffron, but the jar wasn't *that* small, and it was fairly full - it was sort of translucent, so you could see all the saffron threads inside. Per the seal, it looks like the saffron was imported from Spain?

Anyhow, my questions are, has anyone else seen these? If so, have you bought/tried it? How's the saffron?

Also, do you actually use enough saffron in your cooking to make this purchase worthwhile?

Thanks for any thoughts!

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  1. I haven't used the Costco variety but I've found that the stuff at Trader Joe's is pretty good and far less expensive.

    1. At that price and that it is orange/yellow it is most likely that the stamens (and possibly other parts of the crocus) are thrown in there for volume. Only the stigma, which is red, adds color and flavor, not the stamen.

      3 Replies
      1. re: gourmanda

        You may turn out to be right, gourmanda. But it's important to note that the OP said the cellophane was orangy/yellow, not the saffron itself.

        As expensive as it is, saffron is a key ingredient of many Persian staples. Assuming the quality is good, I expect the enormous Iranian community here in Southern California will likely be thrilled to be able to buy warehouse-size packages of saffron at reduced Costco prices.

        1. re: Arthur

          Saffron is used in Persian cooking. The main thing it's used for is to mix a tiny bit of it with hot water. This mixture is then mixed with a bit of cooked basmanti rice. A big plate of hot basmanti rice is then topped with the saffron rice. Yum.

          It is also used in Persian desserts, such as Persian rice pudding (sholeh zard). While I haven't seen saffron at Costco, I'm happy to hear that they sell it.

          1. re: katkoupai

            And don't forget the 'love it or hate it' saffron ice cream (bastahni Irani). Delicious (IMO) yellow ice cream with chunks of frozen white cream in it.


      2. They were in the Costco Store on Morena Boulevard (in San Diego- one of the 'test market stores') before Christmas. It is a large jar but I don't use saffron that much and am not sure how it ages. I know that most spics should be replaced in about 12 months.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cathy

          I buy saffron by the ounce in tins, and store it in the freezer. One ounce is really a lot of the stuff, but I give baggies of it away to friends who are extremely grateful. See if it is Mancha quality -- that's the best. My wholesaler sells it to me for about $25, so the Costco stuff may be pretty good.

        2. I came across this thread while searching for Costco saffron. I bought a jar about the same time the thread was started. I just finished it a few weeks ago and Costco no longer has it in stock. I tried two different ones and I got the same blank stare when I asked for it at both stores. For the record, it cost $27 for a 1 oz. sealed jar. That's less than $1.00 a gram (1 oz. = 28g). TJ's sells a 1 gram jar for $4.00 so you do the math. I have tried TJ's saffron before I found this and I can report that the Costco brand is significantly better. And I mean significantly. No wonder. I went to the website of the distributor, Pacific Plaza Import ( ), and found that Category I saffron has an ISO color score of 190 or higher. The jar I have reports a score of 210 on the label. Add to that the fact that it is completely red stigmas (coupe) and no yellow styles, and is from La Mancha, among the most noted producers of saffron in the world, it is some of the finest saffron in the world. Of note, the following company offers up to 250+ rated saffron and has a very good explanation of saffron quality: . By comparison, TJ's saffron has no color rating or place of origin on the label and is quite frankly very ordinary supermarket saffron at a high price for TJ's. No comparison. The Costco stuff has an overwhelmingly strong sweet/pungent aroma, the likes of which I have never experienced before. It is highly recommended if you can find any. I should have bought several jars as saffron lasts a long time. And now it's gone . . . Oh well. I'll be keeping my eye out for it from time to time and will report on it if I can find it for such a good price.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hmj

            my costco is southern ca has this now. bought it, but haven't used it yet. (btw, the cost is very comparable with the tj's saffron, which is about $5 per gram. the costco bottle is 5 gr, i think, so it's just about equivalent.)

            1. re: chez cherie

              No, it is not the same thing at all. My Costco had that too but I didn't get it since I had paid so little for the best just a year prior. They never got it back though and the distributor doesn't answer my emails. Probably pissed because they had to sell so low that one time.

          2. just saw some at the San Luis Obispo Costco last weekend........