– [Narrator] This is saffron, and just one pound of
it can cost you $5,000. It’s 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. Saffron comes from the
Saffron Crocus flower, and each flower has three red stigmas. That’s the saffron. Just one pound of saffron
requires 170,000 flowers. The purple flowers bloom
over a six week period from late September to early December. There’s also a specific
time of day to harvest them. 90% of the world’s saffron is grown in arid fields in Iran. But harvesting all that
saffron comes at a price. Most saffron harvesters are women getting paid a maximum
of five dollars a day. Saffron is not only grown in Iran, it’s grown in Morocco, Spain,
Italy, the Netherlands, Afghanistan, India, and
even in the United States. Why the US? Though many Americans
have never eaten saffron, the US imported 25 tons in
2013 and 46 tons in 2016. – What’s so great about saffron? Over centuries, it’s proven
useful in many situations. Saffron is most commonly used in cooking. – It gives paella its signature
flavor and golden color. It’s also used in broths,
breads, and marinades. When saffron is broken down,
it creates a golden dye. – People have tried passing
tumeric, red marigold petals, and lily flower stigmas as saffron. But the flavor and dye
is totally different. In large quantities,
saffron can be a potent, happiness-inducing narcotic. And research suggests it may
help reduce the symptoms for Alzheimer’s, depression, and PMS. Who knew this little
spice packed such a punch?