Home Cooking 10

What is wrong with my saffron?

slowfoodgrrl | Mar 15, 200811:00 AM

Last night I made risotto with saffron. Here is the recipe:


The saffron I used was a gift from a friend who recently returned from an extended trip to Tanzania. The bag was seemingly vacuum packed. There is about 1/4 cup of saffron in there, so I was thrilled to receive this gift given saffron's price in the U.S.

Problem: I couldn't really taste the saffron in the risotto (it was steeped in stock first) and thought it was strange that it didn't really smell fragrant or even really very good at all when I spooned it out of the bag. It actually smelled -- dare I say? -- a little musty and strange. But I used it anyway.

What gives? Is saffron just extremely mild? (I have minimal experience cooking with it.) Or is this a bad bag? How can you tell if saffron is fresh or recipe-worthy?

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