WHY IS SAFFRON AN EXPENSIVE SPICE AROUND THE WORLD?
Have you ever wondered why saffron costs so much and the few grams can put a dent on your wallet? However, the answer lies in the health benefits of saffron beyond just coloring and flavoring the food and beverage. But, there are few people around actually aware of the value the saffron brings to our health.
Generally, red saffron finds its place in the kitchen worldwide or used as a dye (especially in the past), or as a skin treatment for various problems. Besides, medical science has found it a great ingredient that has healing qualities for a variety of illnesses.
Besides, the Crocus Sativus, or the saffron crocus, is the flower that yields the saffron stigma or threads. It needs very laborious efforts until a flower produces the saffron threads.
Here, we highlight why saffron stands at the top of the spice family in terms of cost.
- Highly laborious cultivating process
The saffron has a history of cultivation ingrown in the Mediterranean and Asia for millennia. Later, cultural interaction and migration took the cultivation of saffron to Spain, Italy, etc. It usually had been used for dying the clothes or as a spice.
The cultivation of saffron has been done by hand, and today, it is done in the same way. The dry continental weather suits better to the saffron cultivation more than the tropical weather. The temperature requirements of the flower are explicit conditions. The temperature should not go beyond 40 degrees while -20 degrees in winter.
The pure saffron plant matures in eight weeks and can produce the flowers. It is quite labor-intensive while growing the plant to keep it safe from weed, pests, and diseases.
Once a flower blossoms, it yields the stigma that can be harvested. But the flower yield is quite low as only a flower can only produce two to three threads.
Besides, the threads are picked by hands and take a lot of time. The few grams of saffron require hefty effort and several people. Later, the collected stigmas are dried for packaging.
After going through the whole process, in brief, it is quite clear that there is the labor required to cultivate the saffron flower. This signifies the high cost of the saffron.
- Saffron contains the highly valued chemical compound
The analytical studies of saffron found that it is the source of many expensive chemical compounds such as crocin, safranal, picrocrocin, etc. These compounds constitute the color, smell, and flavor of the saffron. Thus, there is no doubt that saffron is a valuable product.
Besides, it is the source of vitamin (especially vitamin c), protein, and many minerals. A thin thread of saffron for sale contains so many ingredients, which makes it inherently valuable.
The saffron is paving its way towards the medicinal purpose. It has been clinically tested for a variety of illnesses such as depression, Alzheimer's, or the PMS, etc.