Is saffron really so expensive?

Discussion in 'Herbs, Spices, Dressings, Sauces and Dips' started by morning glory, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Please note this report is based on UK prices.

    Its often said that saffron is the most expensive spice and I've many times heard that weight for weight its more expensive than gold. I'm sure this must put off a lot of people who have never cooked with it. But is it really so expensive?

    I buy saffron on-line from Amazon or sometimes from my local Asian shop and don't consider it to be prohibitively expensive. This is the one I get from Amazon:

    Screen Shot 2019-04-18 at 17.50.31.png

    As you can see this is £7.99 for 4 grams. So it is £2 per gram. The current price of gold as I write is £31.65 per gram. So one could hardly argue that saffron is more expensive than gold!

    This is tried and tested saffron and its certainly not fake 'safflower'. It may not be the best and ultimate saffron in the world but its pretty special and I'd recommend it to anyone. It can be bought in a smaller 1g quantity but works out a little more expensive.

    Next up is a brand sold in supermarkets:

    Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 11.04.04.png

    As you can see this is way more expensive. You only get .4 grams in a jar, so less than half a gram. It is approximately £10 per gram. This is five times the cost of the saffron from Amazon but still nowhere near the price of gold.

    Next up a more expensive offering via Amazon:

    Screen Shot 2019-04-18 at 17.53.56.png



    This one also works out at £10 per gram - the same as the Bart brand but it is organic and might be better quality.

    There may more expensive types available but I stopped looking at this point. As far as I can tell saffron isn't generally speaking more expensive than gold. I'm sure there are rarified and expensive premium types of saffron just as there are fine and expensive wines. But I reckon that if you are a home cook you won't be disappointed with any of the above brands.

    If you take into account just how little saffron you need to flavour a dish then I don't consider it expensive at all. I have just made chicken kebabs marinated in saffron (plus a few other ingredients) and used just 1/4 tsp (.2 grams ) of saffron strands for two chicken breasts. This works out at 10p for the saffron in this dish.

    It would be interesting to know how these prices compare to saffron available in your country.
     
  2. medtran49

    medtran49 Über Member

    Location:
    SE Florida
    Here's a web site explaining more about saffron, including how to tell quality. The more white/yellow threads you have, the lower the quality, among other indicators.

    At the grocery, the saffron comes in 0.5 or 0.4 gram containers and is around $5 if I remember correctly. I'll look to be sure when we go. The cashiers seem to always have to stop and look at the saffron when they ring it up and then question why it's so expensive.
     
  3. MizzQueenFood

    MizzQueenFood Member

    Location:
    Ireland
    No wonder why it is so expensive, Its costliness has to do with its harvesting. Only a small amount of each saffron flower is used, and all harvesting must be done by hand.
     
  4. TodayInTheKitchen

    TodayInTheKitchen Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Great overview from @morning glory
    Excellent article link from @medtran49

    You all spoil me with this new-found information.
    Off to buy some Saffron at the specialty shop. (Trader Joe's) I am thinking Salmon en Papillote with Saffron is on the menu tonight.
     
  5. Shermie

    Shermie Über Member

    Location:
    Brighton, MA.
    Just enough to color & flavor the food somewhat. Too much of it will have the dish tasting like horrible medicine!!!! :ohmy::headshake:
     
  6. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    If so, that is equivalent to the UK supermarket one shown above (in the middle). So - around $12 to $13 per gram compared to the Amazon example at $2.60 per gram.
     
    TodayInTheKitchen likes this.
  7. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Very true.
     
    TodayInTheKitchen likes this.
  8. rascal

    rascal Über Member

    I'm going to,my Indian shop today, saffron is on my list. It's a very small list as I have everything I need for tonight.
    A nice bread for garlic bread as well I think. My local does a sun dried tomato n bacon bread.

    Russ
     
  9. murphyscreek

    murphyscreek Active Member

    Location:
    Australia
    5741889.jpg

    Here in Australia the big supermarket chains sell it as pictured. It comes in a nifty square hard plastic storage container to keep it fresh. 0.5 grams cost $7.10 Aussie. ...so around $5 US. The last two dishes I used it in were a kashmiri lamb, and a lamb biryani. And I still have plenty left so a little does go a long way!!
     
  10. rascal

    rascal Über Member

    We have master foods as well. I'll get mine there.

    Russ
     
  11. TodayInTheKitchen

    TodayInTheKitchen Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I live in a suburb that has several Indian grocery stores.
    I paid $4 USD for 1 gram.
     
  12. TodayInTheKitchen

    TodayInTheKitchen Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Now you are scaring me. :scratchhead:Did I just create a big piece of horrible medicine? (see image below)

    Quick update: I am right on the border of "too much saffron". That is to say, that I can tolerate the taste but I am pretty sure my dinner guests will not like it. Thank goodness I have enough time to buy more fish and use less saffron. :highfive:
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  13. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    How much did you use?!!! In the other thread I suggested adding 1/4 tsp to the marinade for 4 cod fillets. Maximum 1/2 tsp. Not sure what you did here.
     
    TodayInTheKitchen likes this.
  14. TodayInTheKitchen

    TodayInTheKitchen Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I know, I know @morning glory . I am such an Eye Dee Ten Tee. On the upside, you and the rest of the CookingBites community saved my dinner guests from hating me!!!! :woot:
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    morning glory likes this.
  15. rascal

    rascal Über Member

    3 different shops, no saffron. Nuts.

    Russ
     

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