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Saffron

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Offline cazntony

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« on: June 25, 2012, 21:23 PM »
I am new to Spanish cuisine and have found a recipe for paella.
It says "Saffron or colouring"
I am aware saffron can be expensive.  How much do you think i should pay for saffron?
Is it worth paying for or is colouring just as good?

Thanks in advance of any reply.

Caz
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Offline Waste-Dweller

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2013, 18:21 PM »
Hallo, I don't know whether this reply is too late. Yes, it's worth paying for saffron and you need only use a tiny bit - one stamen is enough in some dishes (depending on the quantity you're cooking, of course.) There's nothing really similar or nearly as good, but if you don't want to buy saffron, try a little turmeric - that's cheap and is also suitable, whereas artificial colouring is just colouring, without flavour or authenticity. I wonder why so few people grow saffron; it used to be grown in England, so it doesn't need a very hot climate.

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2013, 12:34 PM »
Greetings Caz,
Bit late to help you out with that specific paella, but just for the record, azafrán is usually sold as tiny threads (each one a stamen, I suppose) in little flat plastic boxes about an inch and a half long, which cost about 6 euros (0.5 grammes). I suppose it's possible to find better quality/higher priced "ecological" versions and even denominación de origen  (D.O.) versions, but...

I have it on very good authority (mother-in-law, who is an excellent cook) that each box lasts for three of her paellas, i.e., each paella serving around twenty people. She does not use azafrán for any other purpose, which suprised me, but I usually add a couple of threads to my patatas guisadas (similar to Irish stew?). I also know that it's sometimes used in bakailaoa pil-pilean (bacalao al pil-pil), a delicious dish that I've never actually tried to do myself.

As Waste-Dweller rightly points out, it is worth using azafrán. Likewise turmeric, something I use a lot of in general.

Today's-paella-day regs,
Technopat
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 14:32 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Waste-Dweller

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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 08:57 AM »
Yes, they are stamens and that's why saffron is expensive - the tiny stamens must be picked dleicately by hand and not broken or damaged. It really needs children or very tiny Eastern ladies, but I suppose that's illegal now. (I keep a spare orphan in a bin for such tasks, but I should probably apply for a licence.)

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 13:34 PM »
Totally off-topic here, now, but:

Yep, but it's worth it: once you've got yer licence, the ayuntamiento (at least here in Madrid) will replace the bin free of charge whenever you want. Keeps the inquilinos happy while giving you a greater profit-margin on your crop. And you can use any number o' bins to store your surplus stamens in. While still off-topic, that neatly sums up the municipal services: they charge you for using their 010 service, but give away rubbish bins a diestro y siniestro (En. anyone?). Talk about waste! :technodevil:

However, ever keen to stay – or at least go back – on-topic, here goes:

1. http://www.doazafrandelamancha.com/2/ Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Azafran de la Mancha

And the botanical version of "All that glitters...":

2. elpais.com/diario/2011/01/30/sociedad/1296342004_850215.html – "El azafrán español tiene trampa" - El País

Regs.,


PS. The El País link is now working OK - sorry!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 13:58 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Waste-Dweller

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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 08:45 AM »
Aren't they gorgeous? The misty mauve contrasted with the bright orange stamens.. Years ago on ARTE (I haven't got a tele, but I once rented one for six months) I saw a programme about this, including the contamination with imported saffron and the storing it until the price was high or they suddenly desperatly needed money. I've always wanted to try growing some, but it'll have to be for another life, specially now the norphans have escaped - their tiny fingers woiuld have been ideal for stamen-picking. Mind you, they were growing (the norphans, not the saffron) so I should probably put out a decoy and trap some younger ones.
Speaking of decoys.. ..but I was going way off-topic again, so I'll stop now.