Mystery spice basket from Turkey

My daughter brought me spices from Turkey. I am wanting to be diplomatic, to make the best use of these small plastic packets.

There are two packages labeled “saffron”; one a yellow powder,
“Indian Saffron/zerdecal” on the left, my stash of ground tumeric on the right

the other red and yellow (what appear to be) flower parts. I also have what I believe to be real saffron, and this link about figuring out what you’ve got

Rumi-“How to Measure and Recognize Saffron Quality”

My experiment
The aroma of my “real” saffron is… aromatic;

In warm water for about 2 minutes

10 minutes

I go through a lot of cumin and coriander that I grind every few weeks, and all kinds of dried peppers. I’ll probably keep the ground peppers, cumin and coriander, the whole fennel and the whole coriander. My DIL uses a lot of dried mint, and I’d like to learn how, but we have a lot of it.

I want to ask what you all would do, but I am not sure I want to know. :smiling_face:
ETA Turns out zerdecal translates to tumeric; that mystery solved!


Wow .what a great guft . I would start with opening one and diving right in . Eggs , chicken , vegetables, bread , beef . Try them


When researching Turkish dishes I often see dried mint in the recipes. It’s always used to sprinkle on manti (on the yoghurt) as well as sumak. Turks use it in yoghurt sauce (similar to tzatziki).

After a quick search I see it’s also used in braised vegetable and meat dishes, and vine leaf parcels. I’m sure they are delicious, haven’t tried.

No shame in asking in which dishes your DIL uses :blush: (and the recipes!)

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What a really thoughtful gift - such abundance and it won’t keep forever, so it forces you to be extra-extravagent in your cooking!

I wonder what’s in that spice blend, the one labeled “meatball spice” on the bag? Also the one labeled “curry”? Those will be fun for you to try!

If it were mine, I’d start adding mint to a lot of tomato-based sauces, salads and salad dressings, and marinades… eggplant cooked in tomato sauce with mint; tabbouleh with a sprinkle of dried mint instead of fresh; kisir with that mint, the peppers, and cumin; big bowls of fattoush when we get back to summer vegetables; if you eat cheese, sprinkled on (or used in a marinade for) feta or grilled halloumi; maybe some simit in the style of “everything bagels” but with mint and some of these other herbs/spices… Maybe use it as a secret ingredient for za’atar.

It’s interesting to see how they translated the spices: for “sumak” they helpfully translated it “forsalad”! :grinning:


The fake Saffron is Safflower I believe. It has almost no taste and is usually used as a Dye.
My Dad got a “great deal” on “Saffron” in Egypt once. We threw it out. ¯⁠\⁠_⁠(⁠ツ⁠)⁠_⁠/⁠¯

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Thank you all for the wonderful and positive suggestions! I know pre-ground speces and dried herbs can be a challenge.

Those sound like a great place to start! Husband is pretty picky and I am working on reducing food waste, but those two should work with some tried and true ideas.

I think the mint gets used in tea a lot; I will ask about some other ways to use it.

I got this as well, and haven’t figured out if it is usually stored separately or together. It’s usually used with a pepper condiment; acuka, like muhammara.

And this, which is pistachio powder, usually sprinkled on sweets. They have great pistachios there.

I’m thinking of trying it as a nut flour in a cake.

And lots of dried pepper. I have lots of ways to use these, but am always looking for ideas.


For longer term storage, perhaps freeze some of the spices in freezer zip-bags until you’re ready to use.

Idea to use the dried mint and sumac - Fattoush

Ideal for a make-your-own herbes de Provence mix.

Dried mint gets paired with tarragon for this favorite “Wintergreen” salad dressing, from A Dinner a Day cookbook, Over salad of marinated artichoke hearts, diced cucumber, diced celery or water chestnuts, salad greens of choice, and a small amount of diced onion:
marinade from a 6.5 oz jar of artichoke hearts
2 T. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1/4 tsp. dried mint

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Thank you!

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