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Why saffron is the world's most expensive spice
Business Insider4/13/2018 3:10:20 PM

Harvesting saffron requires a lot of physical labor to get the flowers from the field to final packaging. The harvesting process plus its distinct flavor, smell, and color make it the most expensive spice in the world. It's used in kitchens across the world, as a fabric and skin dye, and may soon be used more widely for medicinal purposes. Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: This is saffron and just one pound of it can cost you $5,000. It is easily the world's most expensive spice. The next most expensive spice? Vanilla, at about $600 a pound. So, what makes saffron so wildly expensive? For starters, saffron is a complicated spice to harvest.

Arash Ghalehgolabbehbahani: My name is Arash Ghalehgolabbehbahani. I am a postdoctoral research associate at University of Vermont. To harvest the saffron, you need a lot of hand works to pick up the flowers, separate — saffron is dehydrated or dry stigma. The stigma is the female part of flower. You have to separate that stigma, dry that. And for all of these procedures, you need hand works, laborers. I prefer to harvest the flowers by hand because I don’t like to damage the other parts of the plants.

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