Saffron mostly adds color. You can just leave it out of most dishes and the only difference will be coloring. if you really want that red coloring, you can add paprika, but of course that will also change the taste.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I'm going to politely disagree with lloreen here because saffron does more than just add color. That's one of the reasons it's the most expensive spices in the world. Very labor intensive as you are picking the stamins from crocous flowers by hand. If all you want is color you can use saffron flower (look in the Hispanic aisle). Very cheap. Turmeric will also add color. But real saffron is the bomb!
it always helps if you tell us what you are making. saffron could be in rice or chicken or cookies or kulfi or ice cream etc. And are there other spices in your dish? these answers all affect a good answer.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
I'm weighing in with Pierino here. Saffron is inimitable. When it's called for, it is what is necessary. You can duplicate its color with turmeric, but not its flavor. Saffron is saffron is saffron.
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