Saffron – The Pricey Spice

Crocus flower

Saffron is the dried stigma of the crocus flower — the three stands inside the petals. Grown in Iran, the flowers are picked, and workers sit around tables or on blankets with piles of flowers to gently pluck out the stigmas.crocus-sativus-saffron

The Crocus has an amazing lilac colour to it which adds a beautiful portion of colour to the Iranian landscape.

These strands of orange give a glorious golden hue to rice and incredible flavour to paellas.

Luckily only a small amount needs to be used as it has a strong flavour and it is very expensive. One kilogram (2.2 pounds) costs around £4,000 ($5,000), making it the world’s most expensive spice.


Iran exports enough Saffron to supply 90% of the world. Making to the 300 tonnes per year to go around the world. The Iranians use Saffron to flavour everything, they consume 80 tonnes every year alone.

It takes thousands of individual flowers to make a single gram of saffron, once it has been plucked from the flower and then dried in the sun.

saffron-collectingSaffron harvest in Kashmir

In total, it takes a whole hectare (2 football fields) to provide 3 kilograms of Saffron.



Some simple maths shows us that a whopping 101,604 hectares of Crocus fields are needed to keep up with the world’s Saffron demand. 300 tons per year = 304814 kilograms.

As there’s 3 kilograms of Saffron from one hectare, I have divided it by 3, which gives us 101,604.7



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