Saffron is the dried orange-red stigmas originated from flower call crocus sativus. Each flower contains of only three stigmas and it must be harvested carefully by hand just as flower is opening.
Iran ranks first in the world production of saffron, with more than 90% of the world production. Greece, Spain, Morocco and India are also producing saffron in micro scales.
Persian saffron (from Iran) is considered the most premium saffron in the world.
Saffron is extremely subtle and fragrant. Saffron has its own unique taste which is slightly sweet, luxurious enigmatic taste. It is hard to describe the taste but instantly recognizable in a dish. As commonly says, you know it when you taste it.
Saffron infamously is consider the most expensive spice in the world with price range of USD$9,000 to $15,000 per Kg.
Saffron is consider very high maintenance flower and it blooms only once a year in autumn for two weeks therefore, some people call it as “Autumn Gold”. The entire process of cultivating, harvesting, picking the stigma from inside and packaging must be done by hand. Therefore, the process is extremely labor intensive and thus, expensive.
For one kilogram of saffron you need 150,000 blooms.
First of all, if you use saffron as drink or cooking, you will just need few strands to have the color and taste, which it much below even one gram therefore, it won’t be pricey for a cup or dish.
Secondly, the taste and benefit of saffron can’t be replace with any other spices. As people say, you never try, you never know