Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It is the dried stigma of the saffron crocus flower. The stigmas must be harvested by hand, and it takes 225,000 of them to make one pound of saffron. Saffron is used both for its color and pleasantly bitter flavor.
Saffron is currently used to flavor traditional rice and fish dishes. A few threads of saffron are sufficient to flavor and color several servings of rice or paella. Scandinavian recipes call for saffron in cakes, rolls, and pastries. French, Spanish, and South American dishes often include saffron.
Saffron must be protected from light and moisture to maintain its quality, so consumers should store the spice in an airtight jar or moisture-resistant package out of direct light.