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Dec 3, 2009 05:44 PM

Does Saffron taste like plastic to anyone else?

I always pitied people who thought cilantro tasted like soap (I love the stuff), but I'm realizing after a few exposures that I don't like saffron - it tastes very plasticky to me. This is both the Penzeys coupe grade and some commercial rouille I tried at a friend's house. Anyone else run into this?

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  1. I've never heard that one before! In my opinion, it has its uses. I'm not a huge fan of it like some people though.

    1. I get a much more metallic taste from it than plastic.

      1. Prehaps not a fresh example? To me it has a wonderful pungent fruity taste. It really depends on how you use the spice, though. Some people have odd taste buds. For example, theres a large contingent that when they taste cilantro they get a soapy flavor. Sad really.

        1. It took me a long time to get used to the taste of saffron - longer even than cilantro. I finally realized I was starting to get used to it when I was eating a fish soup, something I love and seldom have a chance to eat, and it had just a little bit of saffron in it. (For years, the saffron would keep me from eating such a dish after the first bite.) I realized I was eating it and liking it despite the saffron, and began to understand how the flavor worked with the other ingredients. I realized I could tolerate it, and eventually began to enjoy it in greater amounts. Now I use it all the time.

          Me, I think most chardonnay, except the stuff that's vinified in the Burgundian style, tastes like floor polish. We all have these little mental links. I hope you can get to the point where you can eat what you want.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lemons

            I don't care for chards. They taste like asparagus to me. I love asparugus, but not in drinkable form.

            1. re: DallasDude

              I hated the oak in chardonnay for a long time, then i had a chardonnay in a steel cask, which got me to come around. Now I love heavily oaked chardonnays, and even like chardonnay barrel aged beers.... weird, eh? But.... I am okay with saffron. No hate or love involved. If its there in paella, i'm happy. If its not there in my risottto? i'm not gonna cry. Not a bad taste, but just indifferent

          2. Saffron never really was meant to flavor any foods as much as it was used to color certain dishes. Do you know why saffron is so expensive? It takes 750 fully developed stigmas (250 flowers) from the saffron (crocus) flower to produce one gram of saffron. Saffron is a poison (CNS Depressant and causes severe Kidney damage) in doses of 10-12 grams, but because of it's high cost most people could never afford enough of it to be in danger.
            You may very well not even be tasting true saffron, but "fillers" used by unscrupulous dealers trying to make a buck selling bogus saffron. None the less, as said before it isn't even really meant to flavor foods.

            8 Replies
            1. re: daddio

              I don't agree that saffron is used for color only. It definitely alters the flavor in dishes that it is used in. As stated by another poster, good saffron used correctly gives a citrusy brightness to food; also a unique slight bitterness that can cut some of the richness and starchiness from pasta and rice dishes.

              1. re: daddio

                Yes I also don't agree that saffron is for color only, it is meant for flavor in many rice dishes, sweets and sweet dishes, and even types of teas in South Asia and also in the Middle East. For example, local people in the United Arab Emirates where I live use it to perfume their black Arabic coffee, and you can't see the color at all, but you can taste the undertone of saffron in the coffee. Or like a Pakistani or N. Indian zafraani pullao which is supposed to taste heavily of cilantro. Many South Asian sweets called "kesari" or "zafraani" in the name are also supposed to taste of saffron not just be yellow-orange.

                I love cilantro but am not that crazy about saffron. My husband absolutely hates the taste of saffron so I very rarely use it in anything.

                1. re: luckyfatima

                  Saffron became popular in Sweden to flavor holiday breads and pastries. Cardamom is also popular. My theory is that Turkish creditors, who followed the Swedish army back home to make sure they would get repaid for money lent to the soldiers, introduced the the Swedes to these flavors. Interestingly, these same turks, who stayed for 20 years (it took that long to settle the debts) introduced "kåldomar" -- stuffed cabbage in the style of stuffed grape leaves. Swedes have adopted this as traditional home cooking.

                2. re: daddio

                  Saffron for color only??? No way. It has a very distinctive flavor. It only takes a little bit (fortunately, because it's expensive) , and is best added towards the end of cooking.

                  1. re: daddio

                    Saffron is not a poison.Dr.Oz explained that it made certain cancer cells commit suicide.To something poisonous it may be dangerous such as the cancer cells afore mentioned.Now if certain people are allergic to something it can act as such.Like raw onions or peppers smell give me a headache.I can only eatcaramelized onions or banana peppers.I don't even enjoy black season my food or cooked peppers.I've discovered that onions peppers and things in the onion family like garlic are dangerous to dogs liver and or kidneys which could also kill them.Being a diabetic I refuse to mess with either peppers or white or purple onions because of my illness and what they can do to my best friends.Another thing I have taken into account.that everybody can be predisposed to different effects because most people are different.Case in point fingerprints or allegedly identical twins personalities even clones.Since nobody can take up.the same space and time with the same exact experience everybody is different.Even clones. ;-)

                    1. re: daddio

                      You are correct about dealers cutting Saffron with cheap fillers. Having seen this once in Spain, some certainly do pull this trick to the unwary.

                      One common cheap filler is safflower, which has been sold in Europe as 100 % Saffron. It comes from an entirely different plant. If it is too inexpensive to be true, it probably isn't real Saffron.

                      Fortunately we have a number of true crocus plants growing in the Alps, along trails planted by religious pilgrims returning from Spain. My wife and I discovered some one Spring, and although I'm not going to mention where ( not a common path or weg ), we came back with a pocketful.

                      For more information on the subject:

                      True fresh-dried Saffron tastes like Saffron. If it tastes like plastic, it may not be Saffron, or was not fully dried before it was placed in a plastic bag.

                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                        Hmm, be careful... At least here in Spain, you are not supposed to eat the wild mountain saffron (azafrán silvestre). I find it all the time in the fall on my walks around Madrid. It's a different species (Colchicum autumnale/montanum) and it's poisonous. Crocus sativus is the culinary variety of saffron.


                        Here in Spain, if you buy the D.O. saffron from La Mancha, you can be sure it's a good product. Toasting it a bit brings out the flavor.

                        1. re: butterfly

                          Oye Butterfly-

                          According to the history books, the species cultivated here was taken from sources of Crocus Sativus in Spain. There is only one cooperative licensed to do this, under very strict regulations.

                          The origin of the local Crocus Sativus appears to have been smuggled back by those on religious pilgrimages in the Middle Ages.