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Why is saffron so expensive

Why is saffron so expensive?

Welcome to the topic Why is saffron so expensive?

The ancient Greeks and Romans used saffron as perfume, which is mentioned in the Chinese materia medica from the 1550s. Today the herb is also used as a cooking spice and a clothing dye. It’s now an essential part of some Eastern, Middle Eastern, and European dishes, such as the French bouillabaisse, Spanish paella, Moroccan tagines, and many more dishes. Saffron, however, is a costly spice. Its costliness has to do with its harvesting. Only a tiny amount of each saffron flower is used, and all harvesting must be done by hand.

Saffron is believed to be native to the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and Iran, although Spain, France, and Italy are now primary cultivators of the spice. When we hear “saffron,” the spice we think of when we hear “saffron” is only a tiny part of the plant itself. Saffron (Crocus sativus) is a purple flower. We use for that distinctive yellow color, sweet-herb smell, and bitter taste the stigma (plural stigmata)—the pollen-germinating part—at the end of the red pistil, the female sex organ of the plant.

There are only three stigmata in each saffron flower. Once the stigmata (and their red pistils) have been separated from the plant, they are dried to preserve their color and flavor. Since such a small part of the flower is used, it takes 75,000 saffron flowers to make one pound of saffron spice. The small amount of saffron spice per plant, along with the fact that harvesting must be done manually, leads to saffron’s being majorly expensive.

Saffron is the most expensive spice on the market. The saffron flower has six purple petals, three golden-yellow stamens, and one red pistil, showing three stigmas (filaments). It is the dried stigma of the flower which gives the spice saffron. It is so expensive because it comes from the saffron crocus bulb (Crocus sativus), autumn blooming purple flower that originated in Greece.

Here are the three simple reasons it’s so expensive — and worth it.

The weather.

Growing saffron is not easy. It thrives in extreme temperatures, both cold and hot, so every variation in the climate can affect its growth. It grows well in areas that have cold Winters and warm, dry Summers.

The harvest.

Saffron grows inside crocus flowers, and it has to be handpicked — a challenging, time-consuming task.

The scarcity.

For one gram of saffron, you need almost 400 flowers! Long, deep-red threads have the most flavor, too, so chances that every flower delivers a perfect product are slim. Each flower only produces three stigmas, So it will take about 75,000 crocus flowers to make 1 pound of saffron.

Now that you understand the work that goes into that small jar at the supermarket, perhaps you’ll appreciate it a lot more. Plus, an ounce will last you a long time, so it’s 100 percent worth the buy.

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Also Read: What happens if you eat too much saffron?