Matiz Saffron $12.95

Saffron is the single most labor-intensive spice to produce.

So hard that many mass-produced saffrons are fake—either fortified with dyes or made of other substances. For the real deal, the International Organization for Standardization developed a “power of coloration scale.” Grade 1 saffron has a power coloration above 190 UPC, or units of power of coloration, while Matiz Azafrán regularly tests at over 240 UPC.

Not sure how you’d use it?

We test everything we sell. Here’s how we’d use this.


Add to our Chicken and Bean Paella, Orecchiette with Saffron, Ricotta and Mint or Javaher Polow. We love it in a classic Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese) and our Lemon-Saffron Chicken (Tangia), as well as adding it to all kinds of savory soups and stews. It also adds lovely complexity when steeped in coffee or tea or incorporated into desserts—try our Coconut-Saffron Macaroons.

Kitchen Notes

We have a little trick we like to use here in the Milk Street kitchen to determine if saffron is pure or cut with other filler products and dyes—like much in the U.S. unfortunately is. Simply drop a few strands in tepid water and watch to see how fast the color releases. If the water turns yellow fairly quickly or the strands lose their hue, then artificial dyes were likely used. If it releases slowly and stays a deep red, then it’s true saffron. This one passed the test with flying colors (a rich, golden color, that is).

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