Did You Know the Most Expensive Spice in the World is Worth More Than Gold?

Most Expensive Spice in the World

Photo: AntonMatyukha/Depositphotos

If you're someone who likes to cook, then you likely understand the importance of spices. A dash of this or that, and food can taste very different. There are numerous spices with unique flavours, and many of them come with a hefty price tag. However, did you know that there is a spice that is so expensive, it even costs more than gold?

It's very possible that you've tried this spice before, as a little can go a long way in the kitchen. Saffron, which derives from the purple saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) flowers costs between $2,000 and $10,000 per pound. The reason for its high value is the amount of time and labor involved in harvesting it. The plant grows in select countries across the Mediterranean as well as places like Iran and India; however, it blooms for only a few weeks every year. The actual spice comes from the three stigmas at the center of the flower, and as such, requires that every flower be individually picked and handled with extraordinary care.

An estimated 40 hours of labor are needed for the picking process of 150,000 flowers. Next, the stigmas are dried over charcoal fires, but this step can also take significant time. When it’s finally cultivated though, it bears a distinct red-yellow coloring and rich, earthy aroma. About 75,000 flowers are needed to produce just one pound of saffron. Fortunately, a little bit of this pricey spice is usually all that's needed to produce delicious dishes.

There is a spice that is so difficult to harvest that it makes it more expensive than truffles and gold.

Most Expensive Spice in the World

Photo: vverve/Depositphotos

Saffron—which derives from purple saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) flowers—costs between $2,000 and $10,000 per pound.

Most Expensive Spice in the World

Photo: Nik_Merkulov/Depositphotos

The plant grows in only certain areas of the world for a couple of weeks. Not only that, but the flowers have to be individually picked.

Most Expensive Spice in the World

Photo: elizavetasprinceana/Depositphotos

The actual saffron part of the spice comes from the the three stigmas in the center of each flower. So one pound of saffron requires around 75,000 flowers.

Most Expensive Spice in the World

Photo: Ivenks/Depositphotos

h/t: [IFL Science]

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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