Saffron is probably the single most expensive of all the spices in the world. The reason for this is that the spice is harvested from a gorgeous little purple crocus flower. In fact, the grains of spice are so small that it takes roughly 75,000 of the plants to produce one pound of the spice. Needless to say, this spice is extremely difficult to harvest.
- Taste. Compared to the taste of other spices, saffron has a relatively clean, delicate, and admirable taste that makes it highly sought after. Due to the flavor that saffron possesses it is the perfect spice to be used in many of the most fantastic rice dishes from around the world, while also providing an elegant touch to such things as bouillabaisse, paella's, cakes and breads.
- History. Saffron has long been one of, if not the single most, expensive of all spices in the world. In fact, this spice has long been so sought after, and so highly thought of, that spice dealers and others who adultured the saffron spice were burnt at the stake during the middle ages. Further back in history, such as back during the times of the Greek, Roman, and Babylonian empires saffron was considered usable only be the rich, wealthy, and royalty of the day.
- Availability. Currently the largest producer of saffron is India. In fact, saffron holds such a special place of honor in that nation that one of the colors of the national flag reflects the color of the spice. However, while the spice is grown around the world, it is extremely expensive. On average, if you were to go out and buy saffron you could expect to pay $140.00 for as little as four ounces of high quality saffron. While it is expensive, it is definitely worth the cost.
- Uses. Saffron has been used the world over for everything from food coloring and flavoring, to dyes for clothes, to an additive for perfumes. Some current examples of how saffron is used would include how Scandinavian countries saffron is used to help celebrate Santa Lucia's Day. In this holiday, everything seems to have been touched by saffron. You have saffron flavored drinks, breads, cakes, and even saffron colored costumes.
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