A Trick from Food 52 for Stretching Saffron

Then ice cubes! Pretty!

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I appreciate all these tricks that are essentially make ice-cubes out of them for convenience or for extending life of products (and I’m not disputing the the convenience or success of these tips), but am I the only one that reads these and thinks “Who has room for all these ice cube trays in their freezer?” I don’t use ice that much, but even pre-pandemic, my freezer was always well stocked with proteins from a meat share, or extra bacon from Costco, and the occasional frozen goodies and ice-cream (always make room for ice cream).

Post-pandemic, I’ve even taken over the ice tray bin to store extra frozen noodles, so while these are all great suggestions, I can never make use of them until I empty out at least half of my freezers (<-- note: plural).

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I agree about ice cubes, or about freezer space in general. At the same time, I stumbled on this, and saved it because I tend to hoard my saffron rather than using it, and this allows me to be a bit more casual and spontaneous about it.

You don’t need to leave the cubes in the tray. I have frozen cubes of pesto and various herbs, stored in ziploc bags.

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Doesn’t this make it hard to gauge how much to use though? Do you just chip off a chunk when you need it?

I’m thinking that means pop the cubes out of the tray and store the cubes in a freezer bag. That’s what I do with stock, canned adobo, pesto, egg whites, sofrito, Trini “green sauce”, homemade Aji Amarillo paste, etc. And now steeped saffron!

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No, i put a teaspoon of chopped whatever in each compartment and then cover it with a little water. For pesto, I fill up the compartment and use two cubes per serving.

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So… just no on saffron. The freezer doesn’t do a great job on highly aromatic things imo, and saffron is not something I want “freezer smell” infecting.

What’s the idea here? Steeping a few strands of saffron in hot water or milk takes too long?

I also have a physical reaction when I see food show hosts taking a giant pinch when all you need is a few strands - only someone who doesn’t have to pay for the saffron would be that wasteful.

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At a food fair, a producer of saffron explained to me that most people used a big pinch when a few strands was necessary. The stamen should be crushed and torn into small pieces before usage to profit the aroma to its maximum. She went on to explain that keeping them in airtight container was necessary, one should put an airtight container inside another one to be sure.

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Ahh, but I meant, I have no room in my freeze to even lay out ice cubes to get them frozen, so that would still require me cleaning out all the stuff in my freezer before do that… unless people have actually invented ice cube trays that don’t need to sit flat?

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Whenever I crush a few strands of saffron, I feel like I lose half of it in my mini mortar and pestle.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold