Saffron. The smell is awful.

wendalls, Jul 3, 12:57am
I just went to add some into a dish. It's the first lot I've ever bought. I sniffed it and realised that that may be the unpleasant taste that was in my Moroccan vege dish I ended up throwing out. I had wondered if it was the Simon Gault stock I used. Not sure if I'm a fan of that. Maybe it was both together. Anyway, I left it out of my pumpkin soup as the smell nearly had me gagging. Anyone else dislike saffron? Or maybe I had the stock concentrate smell on my fingers as I am using the chicken one.

samanya, Jul 3, 1:13am
I've bought saffron in the past & it was horrible . I think some of it is really old & stale.
I grow my own now & the difference is huge.

davidt4, Jul 3, 3:35am
This is interesting. I've bought many different brands of saffron over the years, Spanish, Iranian, NZ and unlabelled, and they all smelt pretty much the same ( lovely!) and had the same flavour. I'm fascinated to know where the nasty stuff comes from.

Wendalls - maybe the nasty smell was from the stock concentrate. Artificial stock has an unpleasant smell and taste. Another thought - how much saffron did you put in? You don't need much, a big pinch of threads for a four person dish. If you used a huge quantity it could taste unpleasant.

paora-tm, Jul 3, 7:34am
I can't imagine stale saffron being responsible for making any dish that horrible. Would even a large amount make a dish inedible?

wendalls, Jul 3, 8:41am
Yes I'll have to go back for another sniff Paora-tn. Admitedly i have no idea what saffron is supposed to taste like in a dish. I did use quite a lot as was indicated in the recipe which was a Pete Evans one. I wouldn't call the Dish inedible, but not to my tastes. I certainly didn't bother to ask my family to eat it though. They are particular.
The saffron was Mrs Rogers brand. It could be quite old too. At least 6. Months?.

wendalls, Jul 3, 8:47am
Despite wanting to make my own stock, I never get round to it. I thought Simon Gaults would be good but I think I prefer Maggi and Massels.

samanya, Jul 3, 10:06am
It was only a thought & I have no idea where the unpleasant saffron I had came from . do you know where bought saffron comes from predominantly?
There's now a burgeoning saffron industry in NZ.

autumnwinds, Jul 3, 2:19pm
It's used in Mexican cooking, and handy to have to use as a saffron substitute for colour, but there's a good substitute for Achiote, too - made from ingredients you probably have in the pantry.

Achiote substitute
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika.
1 tablespoon white vinegar.
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano.
1 garlic clove, minced.
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.

**Note - I like to add a "warmer" note, so add 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon as well.

But in some dishes, there's simply no substitute for a few threads of saffron, so if you're worried about keeping it fresh, keep in a tiny snaplock bag in the freezer. I do this for cheese cultures, some yeasts, and other items - even use the little bags (roughly 4 cm x 8 cm x 50 for around $6.50) for earrings, buttons and all manner of non-culinary things, too - Warehouse Stationery.

lythande1, Jul 3, 7:31pm
Most herbs and spices are rather extreme when you sniff them, but added to the cooking and allowed to blend is another matter.

davidt4, Jul 4, 3:21am
Most of it is exported from Iran, and the saffron that I buy from various Indian food markets is always labelled as Iranian. But as I understand it there is a lot of fakery in the saffron trade. I have seen obviously fake threads in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and I read somewhere a while ago that there is a fake saffron made from coloured gelatine!

The most expensive saffron I've used came from Spain and I couldn't distinguish any difference between it and the much cheaper Iranian kind.

kay141, Jul 4, 4:24am
I get mine online from them as there are no stockists locally. Great stuff and kinder to the environment ( no air miles).

buzzy110, Jul 4, 5:03am
wendalls I have read the various responses to your opening post. I have used saffron in the past. I have both bought it and got the freshest (without growing it myself) saffron from my nephew who did some sort of study on it. I also agree that it does have an unusual odour. I have found it is definitely an acquired 'smell'. As davidt4 has said, it is not a good idea to use a lot.

When i use the merest pinch it is pretty good but more than that and even I find it a bit off-putting. I don't use it anymore and threw out my supply. I prefer achiote.

davidt4, Jul 4, 5:24am
I wish you'd thrown it in my direction Buzzy!

biblia, Jul 4, 6:47am
I prefer achiote too. Must get some more, thanks for reminding me! Need a trip to Martha's Backyard.

wendalls, Jul 4, 8:02am
I went back for another sniff and I don't think it's something I'd buy again. Perhaps if I was eating rice I'd make some saffron rice so I could identify the taste better. Now I will have to google what achiote is thanks Buzzy.

missmuppett, Jul 4, 8:03am
Wendalls, the Simon Gault stock stinks and isn't the best flavour in the world either. We would much rather use Campbells, make our own or even OXO!
I don't think the saffron would have tainted your dish?

nauru, Aug 8, 7:05pm
I think it was probably the stock, I tried it once and don't like it either. Just a tiny pinch of saffron in any recipe, that is all that is required.

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