The most expensive spice in the world is Saffron. Derived from the dried stigmas of the purple saffron crocus, it takes anything from 70,000 to 250,000 flowers to make one pound of saffron. Moreover, the flowers have to be individually hand-picked in the autumn when fully open. Fortunately, only a little of it needs to be added to a dish to lend it color and aroma; too much makes the food bitter and large quantities of it can be toxic.
Why is saffron so expensive?
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 being majorly expensive.
What is saffron good for?
Without saffron half Iranian sweets wouldn’t exist or they just wouldn’t be as tasty as they are. Almost all Iran halva have saffron as flavor and color. The flavor is specially complemented with rose water; pistachio also creates a great combination with Saffron. Its flavor has also entered modern snacks and sweet, saffron ice-cream is as popular as chocolate ice-cream in Iran.