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Saffron: The World’s Most Expensive Spice

greek saffron filaments

Greek Saffron Now Available In Canada

Yes, saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, but the taste and other qualities are certainly worth it! What makes this spice so expensive?

Well, the first reason is that it is so labour intensive to collect saffron. Saffron grows as the filaments or stigmas of a crocus flower. Each flower only produces 3 stigmas, and all are collected by hand. They are then carefully dried before being used as a spice. It takes 75,000 or more crocus flower blossoms to make 454 kg (1 pound) of saffron!

Another reason for the expense is due to the quality. There are actually saffron look-alikes such as “Mennonite saffron” and that are sold inexpensively, but these filaments are actually from the safflower plant. If you ever come across something being sold as saffron but at a ridiculously lower price, you can be pretty sure it is not true saffron at all.

In powdered saffron, unscrupulous spice traders have often added turmeric powder to “bulk” up the weight while claiming it was pure and selling their saffron for very high prices.

Greek Saffron

In North America, we often think of Iran & Spain as saffron producers, but indeed, many gourmet chefs believe that Greek saffron is the top quality saffron and at least, ranks among the best. It is grown in a small region of Greece called Kozani, where it has been harvested for hundreds of years. In 1971, a co-operative was formed called Cooperative de Safran and was started to ensure the quality of the saffron grown in Kozani. Due to the temptation to adulterate saffron including in countries like Spain and Greece, the “Krokus Kozanis” growers formed the organization to regulate the entire saffron growing process including the harvesting, sorting, processing and packaging of this spice grown in Kozani.

This has resulted in a product that is pure, unadulterated and of the highest quality! As of 1998, Greek Red Saffron (Krokos Kozanis) has entered the “Register of protected designations of origin” (PDO).

How You Can Use Greek Saffron

You can use this spice in any recipe that calls for saffron of course! Many use it with rice and chicken dishes, and you only need a small amount. While per weight, saffron is expensive, it is also very potent! It should be used sparingly and 1 gram can last you a long time, depending on how often you use it.

In addition to rice and chicken dishes, in Greece saffron is also used to flavour fish and seafood (it goes especially well with octopus, squid and shellfish), vegetable dishes, and even lemon sauce. You can also add it to your coffee or tea for a luxurious beverage – or make saffron tea all on its own.

Does Saffron Have Health Benefits?

Saffron has traditionally been used both as a spice and as a medicine. Some of the conditions that have been claimed that this spice can treat include depression (and more recently Alzheimer’s disease), menstrual issues, male impotence (and as a general aphrodisiac), asthma, coughs, flatulence, and sleep disorders including insomnia. According to webmd.com, there appear to be possible beneficial effects for Alzheimer’s disease, depression, menstrual discomfort and PMS.

Other conditions have yet to be scientifically studied thoroughly, so from a science point of view, it’s unknown if saffron can treat other medical conditions that it has been claimed to be able to.

Pregnant women may want to be careful; small amounts found in food recipes should be fine but high amounts of this spice are suspected of causing miscarriage.

Where Can I Get Krokos Kozanis Greek Saffron?

Right here! We have limited quantities available at this time, but you can purchase it from KirIan! Click here!
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