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May 9, 2011 07:21 AM

"Saffron" at Arax

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. Marigold petals. Not real saffron.

    2 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      Close, but actually this is calendula, also known as "poor man's saffron". See, for example, 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.)

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

      1. I just trust Penzey's for my saffron..

        4 Replies
        1. re: grant.cook

          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

            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

              All good to know - thanks to everyone.

          2. re: grant.cook

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

          3. 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

              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.