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Saffron Harvest

World's most expensive spice, but still economical

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Saffron

© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Saffron is expensive but affordable

Saffron is one of the few things that truly is worth its weight in gold. This product of the crocus flower adds not only pungent and aromatic flavor to foods, but also a beautiful golden color. Luckily, the tiniest amount goes a long way, so in spite of it being the world's most expensive spice, it is still within the budget of the home cook.

Saffron Harvest

Each purple crocus flower produces three stigmas, which are hand-picked from the blossom, dried, and permitted to ferment slightly to produce saffron.

It is estimated that it takes some 14,000 stigmas to produce only one ounce of saffron threads. The labor-intensive process makes the cost of these bright red threads soar upwards of $50 per quarter-ounce. Luckily, a little bit goes a long way, and you can buy enough for a number of meals for under $10.

One part saffron to 150,000 parts water will turn the water a bright yellow and still leave its distinctive flavor. Saffron is an indispensible ingredient in bouillabaisse, paella, and Chartreuse liqueur.

More About Saffron and Saffron Recipes

Saffron at a Glance
Why is saffron expensive?
Saffron Forms and Storage
Saffron Copycats - Warning!
Saffron History
Saffron Recipes
Saffron Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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The Spice Lover's Guide to Herbs and Spices
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Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference
The Spice And Herb Bible
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