Mexico Connect
Forums  > Specific Focus > Mexican Kitchen


mazbook1


Jul 24, 2013, 2:11 AM

Post #1 of 16 (45988 views)

Shortcut

Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
I have lived and cooked in México full-time now for 16 years and there is one puzzle I still haven't solved. The spice saffron - azafran - is probably the world's most expensive spice, as it is just the dried stigmas of the purple flowers of the crocus sativa. Expensive since only the dried stigmas of the flowers must be harvested by hand and the yield from any one crocus plant is tiny. Sooo…

Mexican cooks most usually use some other, much cheaper substitute (for its color only since none have the flavor of true saffron). Although I finally found a reliable source of true saffron here (Sam's Club), I have only identified two of the three common, far cheaper substitutes I have seen called and sold as azafran here (one is what appears to be a very, very low grade of saffron or some other flower with dark red stigmas - ¿possibly the entire flower dried and crushed? - labeled as coming from China and the other is definitely ground up, dried tumeric root - cucuma), I haven't been able to identify a third that is the most common "azafran" sold here in Mazatlán. It is a small, globular, gray seed that when broken open proves to have a very thin, brittle, gray shell and a bright yellow, almost crystalline appearing, solid interior. The whole seed can be ground up and added to dishes (while cooking) where the yellow color (resembling saffron) is desired. The size of these seeds is close to what I would call small, petit pois, green peas (and yes, I know that's redundant) rather than the larger, ordinary green dinner peas.

Try as I might to discover just what this "grey pea azafran" is, I have completely struck out. Do any of you more savvy cooks have any idea as to just what these seeds are? Wikipedia has a picture of a small, grey dried pea called the Austrian pea but doesn't show the interior or give any details about it (Google "types of peas" to see the photo.)


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Jul 24, 2013, 2:26 AM)



GringoCArlos

Jul 25, 2013, 9:55 AM

Post #2 of 16 (45945 views)

Shortcut

Re: [mazbook1] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Is this it?:

http://www.latinmerchant.com/....asp?ProductID=H0013

and a description:

http://www.bioone.org/...3B2?journalCode=ebot


(This post was edited by tonyburton on Jul 25, 2013, 11:15 AM)


yucatandreamer


Jul 25, 2013, 10:04 AM

Post #3 of 16 (45937 views)

Shortcut

Re: [GringoCArlos] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Wow! Thank you. I was interested when I read the original post and now I have an answer. I had never heard of this plant or its seed. Good research.


esperanza

Jul 25, 2013, 11:57 AM

Post #4 of 16 (45920 views)

Shortcut

Re: [GringoCArlos] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Carlos, thanks so much for posting this. I've been wracking my brain--and wracking Google!--and hadn't come up with anything yet. I often use cúrcuma, but have never noticed this little bolita for sale at my tianguis. I think 'noticed' is the operative word, because the minute I look for it, I will surely find it! The spice guy at our Tuesday neighborhood tianguis is sure to have it--he has everything else.

Thanks again.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









mazbook1


Jul 25, 2013, 4:01 PM

Post #5 of 16 (45895 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Carlos, ¡muchísimas gracias! You seem to have hit on just what I never seemed to find. That is certainly what I was describing, but here in Mazatlán it is called simply "azafrán". Maybe if I had known the rest of the mexican Spanish name I might have found it.

Now for the dedicated cooks here on the forum, I am going to prepare two batches of saffron rice (with no other spices or flavoring), one using true azafrán and the other using azafrán de bolito just to compare the flavors, since your article says that the flavor of the azafrán de bolito is also desirable. I'll report back on the results of this "taste test" soon.

esperanza, Sorry about the lack of accent marks in my original post, but I typed it in a hurry and didn't think to check. I know that azafrán has one and that cúrcuma (when spelled correctly :-( ) should also, but posted without proofreading.


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Jul 25, 2013, 7:43 PM)


yucatandreamer


Aug 25, 2013, 9:19 AM

Post #6 of 16 (44840 views)

Shortcut

Re: [mazbook1] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
I have been wondering about the results of your experiment. Have you had a chance to do the taste test?


Rkit

May 26, 2016, 4:28 AM

Post #7 of 16 (16038 views)

Shortcut

Re: [yucatandreamer] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Saffron belongs to the iris family, and has had a plethora of uses throughout millennia. As far back as the writings of Galen and Hippocrates, saffron was mentioned as a medical treatment for coughs, colds, stomach ailments, insomnia, uterine bleeding, scarlet fever, heart trouble, and flatulence.

Naturally, one of saffron’s first uses may have been for dyeing textiles, since a single grain can color 10 gallons of water with a distinctive yellow hue. More than a grain is used, however, to color the bright orange robes worn by Buddhist priests in India. Three wispy saffron "threads" can be gleaned from each delicate crocus, which, ironically, is lavender-purple in color.

As a spice, saffron is known for what it does to energize dishes with a pungent, earthy essence. It's an ingredient used in Sweden, England, the U.S., and France, not to mention the countries where, collectively, around 50 tons are grown every year: Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Israel, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey. The commercial cost is about 50 million dollars, so it's a good thing saffron can remain fresh in an airtight container for several years.

I have saffron recipe you may like Saffron almond flavoured milk
[http://www.rachnas-kitchen.com/...mond-flavoured-milk/]


(This post was edited by RickS on May 26, 2016, 6:50 AM)
Attachments: kesar-badam.jpg (30.1 KB)


citlali

May 26, 2016, 10:15 AM

Post #8 of 16 (16013 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rkit] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
tamales de azafran are very popular in San Cristobal de las casas and are made with turmeric and not azafran. Down there turmeric is also called azafran.


esperanza

May 28, 2016, 1:05 PM

Post #9 of 16 (15954 views)

Shortcut

Re: [citlali] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
That's true all over Mexico, as far as I know--the Spanish name for turmeric is cúrcuma, but it's known as azafrán de raíz and used in the same way saffron is used. It gives the color but not the flavor of actual saffron.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









citlali

May 29, 2016, 3:38 PM

Post #10 of 16 (15912 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Noting equals saffton...it is so wonderful.


tashby


Jun 6, 2016, 2:28 PM

Post #11 of 16 (15678 views)

Shortcut

Re: [citlali] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply

In Reply To
Down there turmeric is also called azafran.


Thank you! I noticed this last month and was scratching my head, confused.


viktoremski


Jun 13, 2016, 11:57 AM

Post #12 of 16 (15543 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
In Tijuana's "La Ley" grocery store I found fresh turmeric (curcuma) root labeled as azafran. It does not look organic, still, I was surprised to discover it at all. I find it very beneficial to my digestive system.


rvgringo

Jun 13, 2016, 4:27 PM

Post #13 of 16 (15535 views)

Shortcut

Re: [viktoremski] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Tumeric is definitely organic. Othewise, it would be an inorganic substance. Did it look like a rock?


viktoremski


Jun 14, 2016, 8:58 AM

Post #14 of 16 (15509 views)

Shortcut

Re: [rvgringo] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
I'm guessing you're not familiar with the term "organic", or maybe it's just your sense of humor...?


rvgringo

Jun 14, 2016, 9:24 AM

Post #15 of 16 (15507 views)

Shortcut

Re: [viktoremski] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
I do remember some definitions from both Organic Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry classes. They are quite simple and if you follow this simple rule, you will get the idea:

Organic: It once was alive, or still lives.
Inorganic: It never lived; think of minerals, metals, rocks, etc.

Mass marketing advertisers have really played some nasty tricks on the innocent, ignorant and gullible among us.

Yes, I may rib folks now and then; sometimes with tounge in cheek, but always with a reason......to cause one to think critically before leaping on some popular bandwagon.


viktoremski


Jun 15, 2016, 10:45 AM

Post #16 of 16 (15457 views)

Shortcut

Re: [rvgringo] Saffron - azafran

Can't Post | Private Reply
Maybe you'll understand "ecologico".
 
 
Search for (advanced search) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.4