Price of Saffron
The fact that a pound of Saffron costs around $500 to $5000 makes Saffron the world's most expensive spice. The annual saffron production worldwide is estimated at 300 tons.
Saffron is a valuable spice known for its delicate flavor, delicious texture, and bitter taste. This soft spice is procured from the Crocus Sativus flower's dried stigmas, which have a unique texture, taste, and flavor.
Why is Saffron an expensive spice?
The answer lies in the cycle of Saffron creation. Saffron fields need to be kept empty until the next Saffron season arrives. Reaping some other plant during the rest of the time is not something farmers can do. Thus, the cost of production in itself is so taxing.
Each Saffron plant is hand-planted individually. Furthermore, its a tedious and delicate cycle. Each Saffron plant yields 2-3 Saffron flowers, and each flower produces three strings of Saffron. The Crocus Sativus flower and Saffron strings need to be hand-plucked because of their fragile and delicate nature.
About 75,000 Saffron Crocus flowers are needed to get one pound of Saffron Kesar. This tedious process of plucking the Saffron stigmas by hand is why Saffron is such an expensive spice.
Saffron plantation and production is immensely labor-intensive. When the flowers blossom in October, they are carefully picked, and the precious stigmas are hand plucked. Then the stigmas are dried.
One Saffron Crocus flower weighs about 2mg and usually has three strands, and is sold worldwide in grams.The red strings or stigmas are then dried in a dry, dark place.
It takes Saffron flowers worth a kilogram to produce merely 8-10 grams of pure Saffron. High- quality saffron yields are usually low. The greater the amount of various non-stigma parts added to the Saffron, the lower the Saffron's quality.
Thus, Saffron production requires massive amounts of human resources, making Saffron the world's priciest spices.
Saffron cultivation spans around 3,800 hectares in Kashmir. Pampore and Pulwama produce the highest amount of Saffron in Kashmir. In the Pampore village, Saffron fields spread over 90% of the village land, with only 10% of the land being utilized for other purposes.
Annually, India cultivates 40 tons of Saffron. Kashmiri Saffron plant is bulbous, often with rounded corns, which have a height of 15-20 cm. Each plant yields two to three lilac-purple flowers with 3.5 5 cm perianth segments and 2.5 - 3.2 cm style branches with six to ten leaves.
The yellow style is divided further into stigmata with a bright red color. It grows around September-October each year, and the planting procedure usually commences around October end or November.
Kashmiri Saffron accounts for the best variety of Saffron in India. Grown in the high altitudes of Kashmir, the Saffron there is of very high quality. It is handpicked and dried thoroughly. Many brands provide Kashmiri saffron for approx. Rs 230-Rs 290 per gram.
The quality of Saffron is of utmost importance, especially when consuming during pregnancy. Grade 1 certification Saffron is the purest Saffron you can get.
Kashmiri Saffron is ISO tested and has proven to be free of additional flavors and artificial coloring agents. You can blindly purchase Grade 1 certified ISO tested Kashmiri Saffron as it is excellent for health and beauty.
Saffron accounts for 70% of Kashmir's total cash crop production. However, climate change and global warming have lowered the production of Saffron. As a consequence, the price of Saffron has risen by 60-80%.
Iran exports the most amount of Saffron, consigning Saffron worth $51 million. India and Spain also import massive amounts of pure Saffron from Iran. About 20 tons of Saffron is imported in India per year, half of which comes from Iran and other leading producers like China and Spain.
However, some traders blend cheap Saffron imported from Iran with local Saffron to make more profit while selling less of pure Saffron. One kilogram pure Saffron or Kesar currently sells for Rs.250,000 to Rs. 270,000 in the Indian market locally.
Uses of Saffron
Spice Saffron is used cooking and dyeing, cottage cheese, chicken and meat, mayonnaise, drinks, and cordials. Saffron can be utilized for special bread, cakes, pastries, dishes of Mughlai cuisine. You can even add some Saffron to your green tea to elevate the taste of the health beverage.
Recently reports of the medical and therapeutic usage of Saffron have surfaced. Not only does it add an excellent flavor to your food, but Saffron has proven to be an essential source of many vitamins and minerals. Saffron may treat depression, asthma, menstrual cramps, cancer, and much more.
Allopathy and Ayurveda are two of the most popular forms of medication. Saffron has a special place in both kinds of medication. In allopathic medicine, Saffron is utilized to treat fever, melancholia, augmentation of the spleen and the liver. Saffron in Ayurvedic medicine is used for treating arthritis, impotence, and fertility.
The majority of Saffron is harvested by retailers in Spain, France, Italy, and Iran. These countries have sophisticated and well-designed packaging systems and distribution channels.
Developing countries such as Afghanistan find it challenging to establish their mark in the private market's distribution arena because retailers ultimately control the existing distribution channels.
The total production of dry Saffron on earth is estimated at 325 tons per year. Iran produces 90% of the total Saffron production. 90% of the Iranian Saffron is grown in the Khorasan province.
In India, Saffron is grown exclusively in Kashmir to date. Recent reports suggest attempts to cultivate Saffron being made in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.