When it comes to making food pop with flavor, spices always come to my mind.
And rightfully so. Spices can make a simple dish taste better without much effort.
On a recent trip to a neighborhood Latin supermarket, I discovered this wonderful spice called "Azafran" I had no idea what it was, but with a quick google search I found out it is is a neighbor in flavor to the expensive spice "Saffron."
What's the difference between the two? One obvious main thing is the pricing. Saffron is considered one of the most expensive spices in the world. It can run you anywhere between $30-$100 an ounce depending on what type you get and where you purchase from.
On the other hand, Azafran for this same amount of one ounce, will only run you for under $2.00 from any Latin supermarket. This major reason alone should be enough for you to give this spice a try!
Now lets talk about the characteristics of both Saffron and Azafran. The difference is minimal, but Azafran (The Spanish word for Saffron, is not really the same spice. Azafran is the stamen of the Safflower, while Saffron is the stamen of the Crocus.
One physical difference I notice, is that Azafran is slightly thicker compared to delicate saffron. But, in my opinion and I'm sure you will discover too, the flavors are quite similar.
Saffron is traditionally used in the famous one pot rice dish called "Paella" which is a dish that varies with its ingredients of tasty seafood and sometimes sausage. Saffron threads gives the paella its unique yellow color. If you make this dish often, try using Azafran as a substitute and see if you can tell the difference.
If you want to try some other healthy recipes using saffron and substitute with saffron, you can try these delicious recipes.
8 Healthy Saffron Recipes to Try at Home
Its always exciting to try something new when it comes to cooking and if you can save money in the process even better! Would love to see your comments if you give this not so popular spice a spin in your kitchen. I think you will love it.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
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Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator