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Quality Saffron

How To Tell If You Are Buying Quality Saffron:

Fresh good quality saffron is essential if you want to capture the essence of the spice.  Saffron comes from the flower of the Crocus Sativus or the Saffron Crocus. Each crocus produces four flowers and within each flower you will find the vibrant red stigmas. These stigmas are tediously hand picked one by one and then dried. Think about the labor involved and then you can understand why saffron is the most expensive spice you can buy by weight. The plant is native to Greece and Southwest Asia but has been introduced to other countries.

 Find A Trustworthy Vendor:

Mehmet Saffron VendorA reputable vendor will be willing to demonstrate the quality of his saffron right in front of you. In Turkey you generally have two choices, Turkish and Iranian saffron. He will test the saffron in water for you so you can observe the quality. A few stigmas are added to warm water and the bowl twirled to allow the saffron to infuse. Turkish vs IranianBoth the intensity of the colour of the water and the speed at which it colours are both important (the water should be a vibrant yellow.) Don’t forget to also smell the bowl, as the good quality saffron will have a wonderful and quite strong aroma. (The top bowl is Turkish saffron, the bottom Iranian.)

How Much Should I Buy?

Purchased by the gram, you don’t need a lot of saffron but it depends how often you use it. The vendor will weigh the glass jar in front of you and equalise the scales before using tweezers to fill the jar to your requirements. Expect to pay around 50TL per gram for Iranian saffron and around 40TL for the Turkish variety.

Buying saffron


Storing Saffron:

Keep it in a sealed jar in a dark place and always add it to warm water to infuse for at least 5 minutes.


Foodie Recommendations:

Try it with yoghurt, garlic & lemon in a dressing for a salad, mine is drizzled on a Roasted Aubergine Salad with fresh basil and pomegranate seeds. Or maybe a Saffron Chicken Pilaf or go Spanish and make Paella. 

Chicken saffron pilaf.

 Roasted Aubergine Salad w Saffron Yoghurt


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