In this brief blog, we will answer the query,”What is the cost of saffron?” We will explain what saffron is and discuss what makes saffron so expensive. We will also talk about some health benefits of saffron.
What is the cost of saffron?
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and get this, saffron is more expensive than gold! Real saffron can cost more than $ 10,000 per kilogram!
Continue reading further to find out what makes this spice so expensive, but first let’s take a look at what saffron is.
What is saffron?
Saffron is a spice that comes from the stigmas of a plant known as Crocus sativus which is a member of the iris family. It originated from Asia Minor where it has been grown for thousands of years and used in different forms such as medicines, perfumes, dyes as well as a spice for flavoring foods and beverages.
Saffron has threads which are fine and have a yellow tendril at one end and a flute on the other end. When ground it takes a red to red-orange color and it is a versatile spice which is suitable for vegan, gluten-free and paleo-diets.
Why is saffron so expensive?
Saffron is a very expensive spice as previously mentioned and this stems from a couple of factors such as the labor-intensive harvesting process, the sensitivity of the spice to environmental conditions such as sunlight and humidity and its rarity. Let’s discuss these factors in depth.
Saffron is usually harvested by hand and each flower has to be handled carefully to avoid the little bars of red gold from breaking as they are very sensitive. The process of separating the flowers from the stigmas is done by hand as no machine can perform this. This makes the process very labor-intensive.
These stigmas are tiny and to make up just one pound of saffron you need to harvest approximately 170,000 flowers. Such a low yield means that it takes a lot of people to harvest the saffron which drives the price up.
Aside from all the above factors, environmental conditions such as humidity and sunlight also affect the quality of saffron. Too much direct sunlight can lead to damage of the stigmas and destroy the product.
All these environmental factors coupled with the harvesting process and the rarity of saffron drive the cost of saffron high and as a result make it the world’s most expensive spice in the world.
Does saffron have any health benefits?
It possesses anticancer properties
As previously mentioned, saffron is loaded with antioxidants which aid in neutralizing free radicals which have been associated with a lot of chronic diseases such as cancers.
In studies done, saffron and its various compounds have been shown to destroy colon cancer cells or curb its growth and leave healthy cells intact and unharmed.
Other studies have also shown that crocin which is the key antioxidant in saffron to be able to make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy meds.
It may help reduce appetite and aid in weight loss
Saffron can assist in lowering the appetite and therefore reducing snacking and binge eating which increases the intake of calories.
In a study that sought to investigate the effects of saffron supplements in women it found that women that took them snacked less frequently and also lost more weight than women in the placebo group.
It is a potent antioxidant
Saffron is an excellent source of a lot of plant compounds. These plant compounds act as antioxidants that aid in protecting your cells against any effects of free radicals by neutralizing them and also fights oxidative stress.
Some antioxidants present in saffron are:
The crocin and crocetin antioxidants double up as carotenoid pigments that are responsible for the red color in saffron. These antioxidants have the below health benefits:
- They can help in reduction of appetite
- They assist in weight loss
- They can relieve inflammation
- They can help to protect brain cells and curb continuous damage
- They have antidepressant properties
The antioxidant safranal is responsible for the distinct aroma and taste. Studies have shown that safranal can aid in boosting the memory, mood and also assisting in the learning ability. Safranal can also help in protecting the brain cells against oxidative stress.
In this brief blog, we have answered the query,”What is the cost of saffron?” We have explained what saffron is and discussed what makes saffron so expensive. We have also talked about some health benefits of saffron.