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What is Saffron?

This is one sexy spice. It soothed Alexander the Great after battle, launched wars between nations, and one single thread was once said to calm melancholy and ignite passion.

Saffron is harvested from the fall-flowering plant Crocus Sativus, a member of the Iris family. The vibrant, red threads of this heavily sought after Middle Eastern spice have been used for more than 4,000 years to treat upwards of 90 illnesses in the Middle East and Asia, to nuance the creations of master perfumers, and to flavor culinary fare globally. It is regarded as one of the world’s finest culinary treasures.

Today in America, the cost of saffron ranges from $500 to $5,000 a pound making it the world’s most expensive spice by weight. Luckily, a small amount of saffron will lend a beautiful color and a delicate flavor to a variety of dishes — from soup to nuts.

Stefanie Payne

I am a product development lead in NASA's human exploration deep space program at headquarters in Washington, DC. When I am not telling the story of human exploration in space, my focus is on writing about travel on Earth—with articles appearing in The Huffington Post, The Travel Channel, blogs for The National Geographic Society, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessInsider, IBTimes and more. ...(Read More)

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