American Saffron.


From: Marcia V Grossbard
Subject: [Herb] American Saffron
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 22:44:45 -0500

I am wondering if American Saffron is something other than kiln dried stigmas of Autumn crocus grown in the USA. If it is please let me know, because I have been assuming it is equivalent to other saffron.

From: gudrun

I have been wondering the same thing about "Philippine Saffron". I recently bought an ounce for 99 cents in an import grocery. However, it's hard to believe it's the same saffron I normally pay a small fortune for. It looks the same superficially, but I haven't used it because I don't want to waste the other ingredients if I'm wrong.

Since I only have the stamens to look at, I don't know if I have true saffron, another variety of Crocus, or some species of Colchicum or Carthamus. I am baffled and haven't been able to find any good pictures in my books - does anybody have a good way of telling the difference? I can't quite believe I actually got Crocus sativus for the price I paid, but sometimes, you really do find bargains, so who knows?

From: Henriette Kress

> I have been wondering the same thing about "Philippine Saffron".

Saffron is expensive enough that adulterations abound.

One such adulteration is using the leftovers from saffron extracts... it looks right, but doesn't give nearly the taste and color of full-strength saffron. Another such is plain old calendula flowers, or safflowers, or similar.

99 cents for an ounce is definitely not the real thing - use it for color, but don't expect the taste.

You'll find a rather exhaustive discussion of saffron and its adulterants in King's.