Often considered one of the most expensive spices in the world, some have said that saffron is worth its weight in gold. This is not just because of its cost but because of the many benefits derived from using this spice or an oil extract taken from the flower buds, stems, and leaves. Consider some basic facts about this flower and where it comes from and how it’s used today, so you can understand why it’s so valuable and why it’s worth any price you might pay!
Origins and Harvesting
The flower that is used to produce this exotic spice is native to Persia, although today there are many greenhouses that grow the blossom, most typically in Spain and Iran. It is a blossom of the crocus family but is not like the many crocus varieties you see at gardening stores and which are planted outside people’s homes. The saffron species is the only one of about 75 species of crocus that grows the spice used in cooking and for medicinal treatments. Its rarity is one reason why it’s so valuable.
The bloom itself is very delicate, as many varieties of crocus are. Because of this, it needs to be harvested by hand. Machines are too rough for this flower and they can ruin the blossom so that the spice and oils cannot be extracted. The flower is also processed by hand for the same reason. This too is why it’s so valuable, because of its inherent delicacy. The stigmas need to be picked carefully and then dried over heat before they can be sold to distributors around the world.
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The use of saffron is found in recorded history that goes back literally hundreds of years, and it was typically used as a perfume and for certain medicinal applications. Today the oil is used on skin to keep it soft and supple and healthy, and it so also used in cooking and food coloring. It is known to be rich in antioxidants and to have other healthy properties and qualities, and can protect a person’s overall health whether ingested or used in a massage.
While the cost of saffron is comparable to gold, so is its worth. It is a very valuable spice and extract that can be used in a wide variety of ways, so it is well worth the expense.
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