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"Saffron" at Arax

Bob Dobalina May 9, 2011 07:21 AM

Please see the pic below - would love to get your opinions of what exactly is in this bag.


Also, a Blood Draw "fail" I recently spied...purely for your amusement.

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  1. StriperGuy RE: Bob Dobalina May 9, 2011 07:27 AM

    Marigold petals. Not real saffron.

    2 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy
      PinchOfSalt RE: StriperGuy May 9, 2011 07:51 AM

      Close, but actually this is calendula, also known as "poor man's saffron". See, for example, http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page... This ingredient shows up in some of my middle eastern cookbooks, so this is a known/expected thing, not an attempt at deception. So add calendula to turmeric in the list of ingredients sometimes used in place of oh-so-expensive saffron!

      (For those who are unfamiliar with Richter's, they are a major source of herb plants, based in Canada.)

      1. re: PinchOfSalt
        StriperGuy RE: PinchOfSalt May 9, 2011 08:37 AM

        Aaaaah, there you have it...

    2. g
      gourmaniac RE: Bob Dobalina May 9, 2011 07:28 AM

      Hi Bob: I think this is stamens with almost all the saffron shaken off. hence the price. I purchased something similar once.

      1. g
        grant.cook RE: Bob Dobalina May 9, 2011 08:09 AM

        I just trust Penzey's for my saffron..

        4 Replies
        1. re: grant.cook
          Bob Dobalina RE: grant.cook May 9, 2011 09:15 AM

          Thanks everyone for the feedback. Ya, I had no concerns that it was actually saffron. I do wonder how closely it comes to the real thing, taste wise.

          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            itaunas RE: Bob Dobalina May 10, 2011 04:11 AM

            Bob there are Caribbean and Latino dishes which call for saffron mainly for color, but are so heavily seasoned that the subtle taste of quality saffron is lost. And paprika and annato can change the taste too much. If you are going to make a nice paella, risotto alla milanese, any quality sauce buy the real stuff -- it will make a big difference, you use much less so that its not that expensive compared to your other expensive ingredients. With the stuff you saw at Arax you need to use much more to get the same color and it can give you a very earthy flavor which is noticable in subtle dishes.

            1. re: itaunas
              Bob Dobalina RE: itaunas May 10, 2011 05:20 AM

              All good to know - thanks to everyone.

          2. re: grant.cook
            FoodDabbler RE: grant.cook May 10, 2011 05:53 AM

            So do I. They carry both Spanish saffron and Kashmiri, an added bonus.

          3. trufflehound RE: Bob Dobalina May 9, 2011 02:01 PM

            FYI, I buy 2 gram plastic boxes of saffron at my loca Indian market at Trolley sq in Framingham for @$4.

            1 Reply
            1. re: trufflehound
              emannths RE: trufflehound May 10, 2011 07:13 AM

              Wow, really? Do you trust that it's at least acceptable quality? Even on ebay, I don't think you can buy it for less than maybe $7/ 1g.

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