People often wonder; why is saffron expensive?
In this article, I am going answer your ‘why’!
Masala milk, biryani, malai kulfi; all of these dishes are truly incomplete without a hint of saffron added to them. Saffron is added to many more dishes in India, as well to those as around the world.
That touch of saffron immediately gives an exquisiteness to the dishes; along with giving them a beautiful color and a distinct flavor.
But, this exotic spice also comes at a price. In fact, saffron is the most expensive food in the world! Yes, even 100 grams of this spice costs thousands of rupees.
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What is it that makes saffron so special?
I understand it is difficult to understand why would a spice be so expensive. Just as it is called, it comes at the price of gold. You see, ‘red gold’.
In this article, I will give you a detailed answer of what makes saffron the costliest spice. Or in clearer terms, I will answer , why is saffron expensive?
So, without further ado, let’s go deep into the question, why is saffron expensive?
Why is saffron expensive?
There are basically three reasons why saffron gets that pricey tag; its rarity, the harvesting process, and the medicinal and nutritional values that it holds.
The Rarity of Saffron
Saffron can only be obtained from one species of flower in the whole world. It is called ‘crocus sativus’. No other type of flower bears this spice. To make things tougher, this flower also does not grow everywhere.
It only grows in some specific parts of the world; including some parts of Kashmir in India. What makes it even rarer is the fact that this flower blooms only during the fall season. Meaning that saffron can only be harvested during those 6 to 10 weeks in an entire year!
Additionally, there are only three strands of saffron in every flower. This is one of the reasons that answer’s for, why is saffron expensive.
The Process of Harvesting Saffron
Harvesting saffron isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of manpower. And every step needs to be done by hand only. The saffron flower is purple in color. It has three red-colored stigmas inside. These red colored stigmas are what exactly is ‘saffron’.
First, these purple flowers are handpicked with caution. These are usually picked only in the morning. After this, the flowers are laid out carefully. The next step in the process of harvesting is to separate the stigmas from the petals.
This, again, needs to be done very carefully as the stigmas are quite delicate. All of the hard work that goes into harvesting saffron is the reason why saffron is so expensive.
This isn’t all. After the stigma (or saffron) gets separated from the flower, the strands that are obtained then need to be dried out.
Thus, the harvesting process is very, very labour-some. About 150 to 200 flowers are required to yield just one gram of saffron!
The Medicinal and Nutritional Values it Holds
After all the processes that go into obtaining it, saffron is definitely worth it. Consuming saffron has an array of benefits. It also holds medicinal significance.
It is rich in substances like crocin, safranal and picrocrocin. These substances are the reason why saffron is good for you. This is yet another factor why saffron is so expensive.
This spice has various health benefits. They include
- Cures cough and cold
- Helps in reducing high blood pressure
- Relieves menstrual cramps and pain
- Has anti-cancer properties
- Improves memory
- Is also great for your skin and hair health
- Helps with anxiety and depression
- Gives you a good night’s sleep
- And much more…
Saffron also needs to be stored with utmost care. This is yet another task for saffron-growers since it requires some very specific conditions.
Thus, the people who work to get to us the priciest spice in the world toil very, very hard. The process right from the beginning to the end requires a lot of effort. All of these factors are the reasons why saffron is so expensive.
How to find real saffron?
Owing to all of the points mentioned above, finding real saffron is rare. Since the spice has become so popular across the world, its demand has increased. And to give in to the increasing demand, sellers all over the world make a business out of selling fake saffron to customers.
After all the hard work that goes into producing saffron, you must always remember to buy only authentic quality saffron. Authentic and high-quality saffron only comes at a price and hence, stay away from vendors selling it at a doubtingly low price.
Over to You
We must respect the people who work so hard and buy saffron only from genuine sellers. When you buy saffron from a genuine source you don’t just support the local farmers but also don’t support the fake sellers making a profit out of duping customers.
We hope this article cleared your doubts on why is saffron expensive.
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Nasreen is the Co-Founder of Kashmirca. Hailing from a business family dealing in Kashmir Arts for decades, she takes care of the Product & Operations of the brand. A witty entrepreneur, she loves her culture which she aims to promote.