Penzeys Spices

Global spice source

The spices of life. All of them, in subtle variations, from around the world. By mailorder.

-- KK 08/23/04


Saffron is the stigma of the fall flowering crocus. Peek inside most any flower and you will see three threadlike filaments. These are stigma--but only in the saffron crocus are these stigma worth thousands of dollars per pound. Saffron is so valuable because it is a very labor intensive crop; only 5-7 pounds of saffron can be produced from each acre of land. This makes saffron the most expensive spice by weight--it has always been--but by use saffron isn't that expensive, because a little goes a long way. A single gram of saffron easily translates into golden color and fragrant flavor.

Saffron contains 450-500 saffron stigmas to the gram. The stigma are also called threads, strings, pieces or strands. 1 gram equals 2 tsp. whole, 1 teaspoon crumbled or 1/2 teaspoon powdered. Don't buy pre-powdered saffron because it loses flavor quickly and is usually cut with turmeric or something else.

Mace, the lace-like, dried covering of the nutmeg, is a sweet and flavorful spice well worth using. Mace has a softer flavor than nutmeg, and for a nice change of pace it can be used in place of nutmeg in any recipe. Blade Mace can also be added to clear soups and sauces where nutmeg powder might spoil the appearance. Mace is a traditional flavoring for doughnuts and hotdogs.

Ajwain Seed
Ajwain (or Ajowan) is a traditional addition to many Indian and Pakistani dishes. It's especially useful in vegetarian lentil and bean dishes, as a flavoring, and to temper the effects of a legume-based diet. From Pakistan.
50113 1 lb bag 13.90
50184 8 oz bag 7.49
50142 4 oz bag 4.29

Kashmir "Mogra Cream" Indian Saffron is the world's finest saffron. The dark red color and long perfect strands are as beautiful as they are colorful and flavorful. Kashmir saffron is awfully tough to obtain, which makes it higher in price, but Kashmir Mogra Cream Saffron is truly wonderful.

Spanish Coupe Saffron is the top grade of the Spanish Saffron crop. Extra hand labor is used to remove every bit of the yellow saffron style material, leaving 100% beautiful pure red saffron threads--hence the name: coupe means "to cut", as in cutting off all the yellow bits. Spanish Coupe Saffron is a truly excellent crop, especially nice for the traditional Spanish dishes.

Spanish Superior Saffron is the most widely available saffron and is a very good crop. Spanish Superior Saffron has a bit of the yellow style material left attached to some of the saffron stigmas (see photo), so it is not quite as strong as Spanish Coupe or Kashmir Indian Saffron.

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