Saffron had been allegedly used as medical treatment for uterine bleeding, insomnia, colds, stomach ailments, coughs, heart trouble, flatulence and scarlet fever as far back as the teachings of Hippocrates.
However, one of the first uses of Saffron may have been for textile dyeing, since just a grain of it can change the color of up to 10 gallons of water to yellow. Nevertheless, to color the bright orange robes worn by Indian Buddhist priests, more a than just a grain is used.
Saffron as a spice is used to give dishes that pungent essence. As an ingredient, it has been widely used in countries like France, Sweden, England and the U.S. Countries like China, France, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Azerbaijan collectively grow around 50 tons of saffron every year, which commercial cost would be $50 million.
But, why is saffron so expensive?
It’s expensive because the methods used for its cultivation and harvesting has never changed since the ancient times – by hand. Usually, elderly women from the village are given the task of patiently removing the saffron “threads” and in order to produce up to an ounce of the spice, it will take 4,500 crocus flowers.
It’s recommended not to buy saffron from your local supermarket, as this may not give you the freshest of the product. The best option would be to purchase from online saffron traders, as they can provide you with a better product than what you would get from a local store.
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