To understand why saffron is more valuable than gold, we need to understand that saffron is mined in an underground mine in India, and not in the open, where it would be more available to the general consumer. So saffron is often sold in an underground mine that requires expensive technology to bring the ore out.
In India, you can buy saffron from a government-certified dealer or you can buy it from a private producer, but there is often a markup on it. It’s even sold in wholesale quantities to the food industry, which can significantly reduce its value.
As a result, saffron is often classified as an imported commodity, so its relative value is more difficult to ascertain. While people will always talk about their favorite luxury handbags being made from precious metals, such as gold, this is true of any high-end luxury item. In contrast, saffron is actually much rarer than gold, and if you were to look at its relative value, it’s more of a middle of the road trade—one that’s unlikely to make buyers of such items happy.
However, saffron is used in traditional Indian recipes called shavasana, or “grains of gold”. A shavasana meal is typically made with a variety of spices, often with herbs that are traditionally used in food preparation, such as turmeric. Grains of gold, on the other hand, are primarily used as garnishes, or for adding color to dishes (for example, by adding saffron).
This brings me to the question of how much of it we actually consume?
Let’s look at the amount of saffron consumed nationally across multiple studies.
Saafron consumption varies throughout the United States, but is generally higher in the Northeast and lower in most other regions. The Northeast is where “gourmet” cuisine is typically served in restaurants, whereas many of the restaurants in the Midwest serve a menu of basic dishes that aren’t well-suited for the high-level consumption. For example, the menus in the Philadelphia area tend to lean towards basic, rather than refined, fare. Even here though, most restaurant menus in the Northeast typically contain at least two items served with at least some saffron that goes well with this food.
In many cases, saffron is used in savory dishes such as curries—dishes that are traditionally served with a mix of spices and herbs that
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