Fake Saffron CopycatsAmerican saffron or Mexican saffron is actually safflower, a member of the Daisy family and the same plant from which we get safflower oil. Although its dried, edible flowers do impart the characteristic yellow color to foods, it has no flavor and is not a saffron substitute candidate.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), also known as Indian saffron, is an honest substitute for saffron, but it is a member of the ginger family. Use turmeric sparingly as a saffron substitute since its acrid flavor can easily overwhelm the food. Turmeric is also used to stretch powdered saffron by unscrupulous retailers.
A warning about Meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale): This unrelated plant is poisonous and should not be confused with saffron.
More About Saffron and Saffron Recipes• Saffron at a Glance
• Why is saffron expensive?
• Saffron Forms and Storage
• Saffron Copycats - Warning!
• Saffron History
• Saffron Recipes
Saffron Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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