The World’s most expensive spice : Saffron
Good things come in small packages, and this rings true for this exotic spice.
The finest version of Saffron (called coupé grade), sells for $8.29 a gram. That's close to $9000 for one kg of the spice, or for you Americans out there, ~$250 an ounce.
Why is it so expensive, I hear you ask?
- It requires 75000 to 250000 flowers to get 1 pound (0.45 kg) of saffron, necessitating hours upon hours of patience, precise yet extremely tiring labor.
- The average production is measly to say the least, at 1 pound/hectare
- There's also a specific time of the day to harvest the spice for optimum utility.
As with most expensive things, counterfeiting and adulteration is rampant in the Saffron industry. Here are some ways to identify fake saffron :
- Dissolve a pinch of saffron in water - if the color(of water or safron) changes, then it’s fake.
Image source-SAFFRON: REAL OR FAKE ?
- Genuine saffron smells sweet but has a bitter taste, while fake saffron often tastes sweet.
- Iran is responsible for 90% of the worldwide saffron production.
- India also produces saffron in the Kashmir region.
Iranian Saffron vs Kashmiri saffron
“The main difference between Kashmiri and Iranian Saffron is that of the yield of Stigmas which is about 75%.The excess yield is due to the fact that the stigmas of saffron cultivated in Kashmir are extremely long and with a thick head. They are also of a deep red color. The size of the stigmas indicates the inherent suitability of the soil and climate for this product.
Thus by just physically observing the saffron its origin can be identified provided it has not been blended with saffron from various origins. The blending is normally done by importers in non producing countries because of the wide disparities in prices: the Iranian Saffron is about 1/2 the price of Kashmiri Saffron.”
Iranian Saffron vs Spanish saffron
“High quality Saffron produced in Iran is exported in bulk to Spain. Then the imported Saffron is mixed and reprocessed with lower grade Spanish (La Mancha) and Portuguese saffron (safflower which is often sold as “assafroa”) before being packaged in beautiful designs. It is then re- exported as La Mancha or Mancha saffron at very higher prices to all parts of the world.
Spain is producing almost 1 ton of saffron annually but is exporting 100 tons per year 20-30 tons of which to the united states alone. How could it be possible?
However, powdered saffron is more prone to adulteration, with turmeric, paprika, and other powders used as diluting fillers.”
Check below link where fake and real Saffron is explained and tested
Safflower plant resembles similar to Saffron and is use for adultration