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600px-Saffron and other spices at a Turkish market

"And, there might be one more ingredient but it's a secret. Kind of a personal thing. Excuse me. Saffron. I'm just going to get hold of a few of these precious little strands and bloom them in hot water. More on this later."

" The fall flowering crocus is ground zero for saffron. Each tiny flower contains three little threadlike stigma which have to be picked by hand. Now, if you picked this patch and about 43,000 more just like it—it's about 5 of these infields worth—you'd have a pound of saffron with a market value of about a $1,000 making saffron the most expensive food on earth."

" Now, Kashmir saffron is the best. It's easily recognized by its solid red threads. Now, Spanish and Turkish saffron like this can contain up to 10% yellow stamens so they're a wee bit less intense. Personally, I don't notice the difference in flavor as much as the difference in price which can be substantial. Now, luckily a little goes a long way. We only used about a quarter's worth for our pilaf."

" Now, we suggest you buy saffron from a specialty spice catalogue, not from a store where it may have been laying around losing its punch. And never settle for crushed or powdered saffron. It's almost always been cut with turmeric. Now, keep your saffron in a heavy plastic bag or a jar with an air tight lid. The safe, is optional."

" [beep, beep] What's that? Fifteen minutes already?"

--A.B.


This ingredient was used in Power to the Pilaf

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