Where does saffron the most expensive spice come from?
The tiny red thread-like strands are the stigma from a small, purple crocus. It is the world’s most expensive spice. The reason it is so expensive is because each crocus flower provides only three stigmas that are picked and dried by hand during short annual flowering seasons.
To produce one ounce of saffron it takes tens of thousands of individual strands. The good news is that a little goes a long way. One or two threads can add flavour and colour to an entire pot of rice. In fact, too much can make food bitter.
When you see a large quantity of saffron at a reasonable price it is likely fake. Saffron, being so expensive has had clever marketers create imitation saffron in a big way around the world. One of the big imitators are safflower petals because they look a little like saffron but are lacking the flavour of the real thing.
The name saffron comes from an arabic word Zafran.
Health Benefits of Saffron
For centuries, saffron has been used throughout the world as a spice to heal. Pharaohs and kings used it as an aphrodisiac but large amounts produce deathly narcotic effects.
- Improves Digestion by helping improve the circulation to the organs of digestion.
- Reduces Fever as it contains the compound crocin, which scientists believe that helps in reducing fever.
- Relieves Arthritis as it has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Helps with Insomnia as it is a mild sedative. (a pinch of saffron taken with warm milk is common)
- Saffron Extract Can Helps with Weight Loss from using the extract. In a study 100 percent of women who took the saffron extract supplement reported a decrease in hunger.
- Eases Muscle Inflammation by helping the tissues to get rid of lactic acid.
- Is an Anti-Depressant. It influences the serotonin activity in the brain.
- Reverses Macular Degeneration. Scientists have found benefits of saffron for eyes.
Most of the world’s saffron is produced in Iran, but Spain is the largest exporter.