The value of saffron varies according to the grade of the plant. For example, red, white or pink saffron, which grows in India, Thailand, Algeria and Libya, is worth about $30 a pound. Black, green or yellow varieties produce little saffron.
But saffron lovers are encouraged to start making their own at home. The oil is rich in essential oils, which are used in perfumes, skin care products and soaps, and can be used as an alternative to butter to cook with in cooking and baking.
When to buy saffron
If you want a variety that grows in your backyard, start small and save your seeds. If you’re going for the best taste, buy the highest-quality white and red varieties. You will want to seed several gardens if you live in an area known for its saffron abundance.
Once the plant starts to bear saffron flowers, consider harvesting it. The oil from its flowers can be used to make saffron toothpaste or in the spice industry.
If you live in a remote area, chances are you won’t run into much of the plant, which will be hidden in your soil. However, if you have a friend or a neighbor who grows saffron, try to encourage them to start planting it.
In addition to being used as a spice ingredient, saffron oil is also prized for its health benefits. In its natural state, it’s high in lutein, chaste tree fruit extract and other nutrients, which makes it an ideal additive to food and food supplements. The color of the oil ranges from deep orange to yellow and can even turn a light brown when it dries.
So you can think of saffron as either a spice, a medicine or even a culinary accessory. It’s your choice.
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