[Sca-cooks] Onion Juice - and Saffron measurements

Pixel, Goddess and Queen pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com
Tue Mar 6 07:41:53 PST 2007

On Tue, 6 Mar 2007 ranvaig at columbus.rr.com wrote:

>> I have a question about saffron measurements. Someone gave me a recipe that
>> was redacted and I'm trying quintuple it. She said 1/2 tsp of Saffron for
>> 2.5 cups of cooked rice. Now, if I'm quintupling that recipe, would I need
>> to quintuple the saffron? A) It is hideously expensive and B) It doesn't
>> necessarily function the same way as other spices. Any ideas?
> A quick google for saffron rice, found recipes for 1 c uncooked rice
> using 1/2 tsp saffron. 1 1/2 c rice to 2/3 tsp saffron, 1 c rice to
> 1/8 tsp saffron, 2/5 c rice to 1/2 tsp saffron, 1 c rice to a pinch
> of saffron,  1 1/2 c rice to "enough saffron to color", or 500 kg
> rice to "large pinch" of saffron
> Its going to depend on the quality of the saffron, you probably need
> to test with the same brand you will actually use.  The expensive
> saffron might need less... or it might not.
> I'd start with 2 c of rice to 1/8 tsp saffron and see how much color
> you get, but 1 c rice to 1/8 tsp sounds about right to me.
> Ranvaig

You're going to need more saffron if you're actually using it for flavor 
rather than for just color. Also, check to make sure that the cheaper sort 
of "saffron" is really pure saffron and not safflower. I can get Mexican 
saffron at the local grocery store for much, much cheaper than real 
saffron, but that's because it isn't the same thing. Mexican saffron 
(asafran/azafran) is safflower, which is used for color but not for flavor 
(and you can dye silk pink with it, but that's another digression 

Real saffron (Crocus sativus L., the autumn crocus) is anywhere from 
$6-10/g (yes, that's gram) while safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L., a 
thistle) is more like $2/oz.

So, to sum up--if you want color, safflower is a perfectly reasonable 
substitute. If you want flavor, it does not substitute for saffron.


Margaret FitzWilliam

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