What is the most expensive spice?

Old Feb 15th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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What is the most expensive spice?

We needed dried bay leaves for a veal roast we are having for dinner. A bottle of 0.12 ounces was $4.39 which is a per pound cost of $561.91

Some others?
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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Saffron is far more costly.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Correct: at my local market, powdered saffron goes at a rate of $2117.87 per pound.

Want a recipe for risotto milanese?

Phil.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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I think it helps to think of the per serving cost.

That said, there are far better places to buy spices than in a supermarket. Most dried spices freeze well and if you do not think you will use them in the next year, it might be better to freeze.

But why are we discussing this on the Europe board?

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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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It depends on which country you are buying in. Saffron is common and reasonably priced in the Middle East. Spice traders are not poor boys.



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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 03:47 PM
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You can get reasonably priced and excellent saffron in Spain.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 04:34 PM
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Be aware that in some countries there is quite the counterfeit saffron trade.

Saffron is probably the most expensive spice in the world.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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You were probably paying most of that for the bottle and labeling. Atlantic Spice Company sells perfectly acceptable bay leaves for a bit over $5 a pound. Penzey's sells higher quality bay leaves for about $25 a pound. As mentioned earlier, saffron is far more expensive, even when buying in quantity. For example, at Atlantic Spice it's $144 an ounce, equivalent to about $2300 per pound. Penzey's is much higher than that.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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When we need bay leaves for cooking, we get them directly from the tree growing in our back yard, and part of our 'edible garden'. Total cost: $0 per kilo!
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Old Feb 16th, 2009, 02:09 AM
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I'd have said bay leaves are a herb.

But what really IS the difference between a herb and a spice?
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Old Feb 16th, 2009, 02:45 AM
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Usually, leaves of plants are herbs & the rest of the plants are spices (seeds, buds, etc.)
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Old Feb 16th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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You have to harvest more than a quarter million crocus flowers (by hand) to obtain one pound of Saffron.

The Spanish saffron (from La Mancha) is one of the best in the world.

The Swiss mountain village Mund also grows saffron, but on a smale scale.

In England, the town Saffron Waldon is named after saffron which was harvested there (my son once spent a couple of weeks in college there).

Most saffron comes from the middle East. Kashmiri saffron is said to be excellent too, however not easily available.

BTW, Egypt is a wonderful source to buy spices, also Istanbul.
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Old Feb 16th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Italy also grows saffron. It is found in pastas of the Abruzzi region and in Sardinia.

In the US, beware of inexpensive saffron, as it probably comes from the less desirable parts of the plant and will have less flavor/aroma than the better qualities..

I would also be leery of powdered saffron from an unknown supplier..too much chance of adulteration..adding turmeric to mimic the color in the finished dish ,etc.


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