Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world today. It can cost as much as $300.00 U.S dollars an ounce. This is because the part of the plant that is used must be hand-harvested.
Saffron is harvested from the three stigmas of the Crocus Sativus flower. The flower has to be hand picked, the stigma removed, and then separated. There is no machine that will do this job. Only human hands are capable of picking the threads without damaging them.
What’s in the name? Saffron is from the Arabic word zafaran which means ‘yellow’. The French culinary term safrané means ‘coloured using saffron’. The colouring properties of Saffron have been prized as much as its unique flavor.
Where does Saffron come from? It spread out from Ancient Persia, down through the Mediterranean peninsula, and up into China, and throughout India, where it was quickly adopted for dying Buddhist monk robes and anointing deities.