People hearing about saffron spice for the first time may wonder why it is so expensive. In fact, this is a spice that easily costs up to thousands of dollars per pound.
So, why is the saffron spice price so high and how does the best saffron look like? Let’s find out below.
Saffron is unarguably the most expensive spice you can find on the planet. It’s usually sold in a few grams or even ounces, just a few red threads of this delicate and exquisite tasting plant make up a few grams.
On the market, premium quality best saffron costs around 3000$ for 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram) so at that price, a pound could cost up to 1830$.
Such pricing makes saffron spice even more expensive than gold today. That’s why it’s commonly referred to as “red gold.”
But when you consider certain factors explained below, it's not hard to see why this spice costs so much.
Compared to other plants that can grow in several regions worldwide and still produce the same quality of harvest, the saffron plant is a very finicky and selective one exclusive to some regions.
The best quality saffron spice comes from a tiny part of only one plant on Earth; the stigmata of the Crocus stativus flower also known as "saffron crocus." In addition, you can only get 3 stigmata at the most from each flower. At that rate, to get the commercial quantity of dried saffron requires harvesting anywhere from 80,000 flowers and above at a time.
The Crocus stativus is also a very picky plant that won’t grow just anywhere. It needs specific climatic conditions such as rain, temperature, and good soil with natural manures to grow easily. That’s why our Persian grown saffron spice is the best quality in the world because the Persian climate is its natural habitat and is just right for optimum yield.
Till date, there is no mechanized way to safely harvest saffron stigmata from the flower. Because the threads themselves are so delicate, every single one of them must be removed gently and tenderly by hand. After removal from the flower, the stigmata are expertly dried quickly to retain their deep red color, unique flavor, and prevent moisture during packaging. The flowers are also small and grow very close to the ground making the entire process labor intensive.
Connoisseurs of fine living can testify to the unique benefits of saffron spice for cooking, its health benefits, and other uses. Even as far back as the middle ages, the ancient Greeks used it and so did the Chinese and the Romans for perfume, cloth dye, and in medicinal potions.
Today, you can find references of saffron growing in parts of the Mediterranean, Spain, France, Italy, and Iran. But be informed that the quality will vary.
The major problem is the tendency for some sellers to mix a small quantity of saffron with cheaper spices and sell it off as the best quality in order to maximize profit. So how do buyers identify the best quality saffron spice because there is no point spending all that money to get less than premium quality spice. There are some common indications.
Yes, the saffron spice price makes it is one of the most expensive substances you can find, but try it in your cooking, and you would have to agree that its taste is well worth the price. Best of all, you need very little, just about 2 or 3 strands to add color and flavor to your entire dish.
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