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Aug 5, 2003 04:07 PM

cost of saffron in gold?

  • b

I read somewhere, and I stand by the fact that I read it somewhere but I can't find it again, that saffron is supposedly by weight, worth more than gold? that is, per ounce, saffron costs more than gold . . . is that possible? all I read are about 50,000 crocus heads for a gram or an ounce, and random measurements, but does anyone know the answer to this question? my girlfriend always makes fun of me for believing this, esp. when we pass by saffron in a store . . someone help settle this please!

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  1. Possible, but not true. Just called my supplier, they charge 6.50 per gram (threads), hence $156 an ounce. Gold is currently trading at $351. There are other "herbs" that do cost more than gold...

    2 Replies
    1. re: SLRossi

      Oops, bad math. That's $182 per oz of saffron.

      1. re: SLRossi

        hmm, don't know if those "herbs" would be food related but certainly could inspire a posting on certain post-"herb" noshing activities . . .

      2. I've heard the same thing but a little research shows that this isn't quite true.

        Gold is currently selling for about $348/oz while saffron is going for about $170/oz. So while saffron is extremely expensive it doesn't quite compare to gold although it is way more valuable than silver which is being sold for $7/oz.

        I guess you'll have to put up with your girlfriend's razzing...

        1. Big Jeff: Gold is selling for about $350.00 per Troy Oz. [20 Troy Oz per Pound]. Spanish Thread Saffron averages from $30.00 per Oz up to $60.00 per Oz. There are Saffrons from other markets much lower priced. So in 2003, Gold is more expensive. But, your partially correct as Saffron was much more expensive then Gold not so many years ago when Gold was only $35.00 Per Troy OZ. Actually the cost of Saffron is more reasonable now then then.

          1. On the show good eats with alton brown im the episode its a pan its a dish its paella. Alton said that saffron is close to the price of gold. And is the most expensive spice in the world

            3 Replies
            1. re: hollyowens58

              Well my supermarket sells Saffron at $151 a gram (it's $15.10 for 100mg). Gold's price today is only $41.74 a gram.

              Although I would be foolish to buy it there - its far cheaper (and maybe better) from the local Persian deli.

              1. re: PhilD

                That's silly and obscene. Penzey's has a variety of quality levels from $20-30 per gram and up to about $600 per oz in .25 oz increments for their best quality stuff, which should be ample for anyone's needs in terms of both quality and quantity.


                You can find it for much, much less from importers that specialize in middle-eastern herbs and spices and some of them may even be reputable.

                A quite reputable vendor here in Seattle has it for even less, $16.95 for 1.5 grams:


                Yes, you must get the threads as indicated below, but they certainly don't need the babying indicated to extract their full flavor.

                Trader Joe's often has some really nice ones if you have one near you, and if they aren't quite as potent as the ones bathed in Unicorn Tears, well, they're inexpensive enough that you can use a few more threads and get a perfectly lovely flavor punch.

                1. re: acgold7

                  Well I did say you would be silly to buy it at a supermarket at those prices, but its an example of how the "more expensive than gold" comment can come from.

                  As to the "babying" as you call it its a tried and true technique for a biriani and many desserts, you can use milk or water depending on the dish. Sometimes you add it direct to dishes after you fry other spices and if doing a middle eastern rice you tend to fry it with the rice first, but for - but usually those dishes have a short cooking time. if the cooking time is longer its best to put it in towards the end so you don't lose the flavour.

            2. I do agree that saffron is one of the most expensive spices available today, and that it could rival the cost of gold per ounce. I am wondering if the cost is worth it though? I have heard that saffron tastes amazing with seafood and in sweetbreads, or when combined with cream in many dessert recipes; however, they say it is a finicky spice, and that one must cook it just right in order to get any flavor at all from it (or else it is a waste).

              2 Replies
              1. re: rosik929

                It's also a spice that is tricky to buy as it's price means there is a lot of rubbish on the market. The stems (never powder) need to be really red and not yellow, they should also be bone dry as if they are exposed to humidity they go soft and it's tricky to extract the flavour.

                You also need to prepare it carefully, usually roasting it lightly before crushing it in some milk, and you can easily scorch it. From my experience the quality of the raw material is the key, get good stuff and the taste is amazing, get bad stuff and you start to think its a case of the emperors new clothes.

                1. re: rosik929

                  If anything, you need to be careful about using too much, or you risk a harsh medicinal taste.

                  I think this roasting/milk bath thing could be a little bit overkill, but I could be wrong. Most people just steep the threads in whatever liquid is going into the dish for a few minutes -- like the stock for your rice. I like to bust up the threads in a spice grinder with the salt and pepper and whatever other dry spices there are and just dump them in. I know this will make the purists howl but it intensifies the flavor so you can use less and get more color as well.