Spices can make or break your meal, as we all know a little spice can go a long way – if you know how to use them. But what they don’t tell you until you start exploring your options and different palettes, is that spices can make or break the bank. For example, a humble spice such as the chili powder or the garam masala does not really cost much at all.
But on the other side of the table, you find the high-quality spices that are known to only be tasted by people living luxurious lifestyles. These are the spices that can sell for over $5,000 USD per pound. With a price tag that high, you might think you were putting a rare diamond on your plate, but no they are actually used quite regularly. In fact, you may even eat some of them in your meals on an almost daily basis. There is even a good chance you have some of these bank breakers already in your pantry.
One of them is of course saffron, the most expensive spice in the whole world. Clocking in more than caviar or even truffles, saffron is actually thought to be the most expensive food on the whole planet. It comes in costing over USD $5,000 per pound.
The spice is only native to Central Asia and regularly seen in Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine. It is actually harvested from the Crocus Sativus flower, only you need a huge amount of these flowers to harvest enough saffron spice. This is because the spice comes from the stigmas and the flower only has three stigmas. This means it will take a saffron producer over 60,000 flowers to just harvest one pound of dried saffron threads. And harvesting them is not easy either, it is extremely time-consuming and labor intensive.
Today, we find saffron farms in Spain, Italy, Greece, India, and Iran, but the highest quality saffron still comes from its native home of Kashmir. These Kashmir saffron threads are known as the red gold. They have been used for almost 40 centuries, by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. They even used saffron as a red dye or to perfume their baths or temples.
One thing to remember is that when you are in the supermarket, if your saffron is not expensive, well then it is not pure saffron.