Originally Posted by LEFSElover
about saffron, does anyone really think it's worth that much per little tiny container? I used mine, think it was like $45 in the cutsie little glass bobble it came in, a couple of times this month. either my mouth is dead or it's just not that amazing of a flavor. just my 2Ę
Saffron, if good quality (it isn't always!), is worth every penny it costs.
Saffron is the dried stigmas of a variety of crocus. The crocus only flowers for about 2 weeks and it takes 150 flowers to yield one gramme of saffron and the cultivation, harvesting and drying of the threads is very labour intensive. Which explains why it is so expensive.
Mind you, I think you were had at $45 (approx. £30). My last lot was brought from Spain by a friend and was good quality. It cost around £5 ($7.50) for a pack containing 4 individually wrapped portions of saffron and if I had bought it here I'd have paid about £10 ($15) for the same amount.
Be very wary of packets of anything labelled "Paella Powder or "Paella Spice". Usually this is just powdered flavourings died yellow. Also don't believe anyone (including the television cook I once watched) who tells you that turmeric can be used as a substitute for saffron. It can't!
Your expensive saffron may have been stale or just not very good quality despite it's price. Or did you taste it dry? It has to be soaked in warm water or other liquid to bring it to life and release its flavour.
Incidentally, saffron is mostly produced in Iran these days but in the 16th and 17th centuries it was produced in England around the town which became known as Saffron Walden in Essex. Saffron Walden has an American connection
. The town cricket pitch is on land bought by and donated to the town by US servicemen after WWII. There were a lot of American airbases in Essex and the neighbouring counties during the war and I suppose the locals took the American personnel under their wing. A monument at the site commemorates the American airmen and people of Saffron Walden who died in WWII.