Do saffron threads add flavor, or just color?

Just wondering if it's important to use them when a recipe calls for them, or if it's okay to substitute turmeric? Thanks!

  • Posted by: Thistle
  • June 25, 2012
  • 31692 views
  • 10 Comments

8 Comments

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Panfusine
Panfusine June 25, 2012

Saffron does add a slight creamy/ smoky aroma to dishes that turmeric does not. Saffron gives a soft mild buttery yellow color whereas turmerics shade is much more intense.

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Voted the Best Reply!

ChefOno
ChefOno June 25, 2012

Without seeing the recipe, let me put it this way: Saffron isn't the most expensive spice in the world because of its color.

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ChefJune
ChefJune June 26, 2012

Added caveat: if you add more than just a little, you can make your dish have a very medicinal flavor. Just a little saffron goes a long way.

bigpan
bigpan June 25, 2012

The flavor is very slight, the color similar to turmeric without the harshness.
I would not do a paella without it.

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Reiney
Reiney June 25, 2012

Nice one, ChefOno. Made me chuckle.

The flavour can actually be very overpowering and distinct if used excessively, so be careful with those pinches. When using, brew it like a tea in a few Tbsps of hot water before adding it to your dish - this draws out the flavour (and allows you to use fewer strands).

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pierino
pierino June 26, 2012

Good one ChefOno. Saffron does add flavor and there are times when I go overboard with it. What does not add flavor is saffron powder which is made from safflower and all that does is add color. And then there are dishes where turmeric just does not belong...period.

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Thistle
Thistle June 26, 2012

Thanks for the passive-aggressive help ChefOno. : ) I now know... what it isn't.
Thanks everyone~ I'm sure you've just improved my Moroccan Lentils immeasurably.

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Red Saffron
Red Saffron October 1, 2013

if you use high quality saffron, try to use it not so much, just couple of stigmas will give food the real gold coloring and the taste is slightly bitter if you taste it directly, that is why I prefer use saffron properly. You can also use saffron powder, that you can use for dressing also .
http://www.exirsaffron.com/pure-saffron-powder

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saffroncrocuses
saffroncrocuses September 15, 2015

Turmeric will never add the specific unique flavours of saffron. Saffron works in various ways depending on saffron quality (very difficult to find real and good saffron, fraud is massive), ingredients in your recipe, cooking procedure, dosage, etc. It makes this spice somehow alchemical and a bit difficult to use : it may fade away as well as overpower and ruin the gustative landscape. If you are just after adding color to your dish, use anything cheaper than saffron. But if you have good quality saffron at hand, use it since it deteriorates with time and loses its powers after 4 years postharvest. This website teaches a lot on saffron : saffron-crocuses.com

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Thistle
Thistle September 15, 2015

Thanks for the information, and so well put. In the years since asking the question, I have been able to experience real saffron. I agree it is unique and wonderful.

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