The Five Most Expensive Spices in the World

Spices have always been part of our human history as explorers. During the early days of exploration, many lands were discovered by nations in search for spices, which shows exactly just how important these things are. Spices as a commodity may be small, but their usefulness in the culinary world are essentially priceless. Once spices were discovered, it became impossible to go back to cooking without them. Thus is the brief explanation of just how valuable spices are to everyone and the world. That value hasn’t decreased over the many centuries that have passed since the early days of explorations and conquest. Today, many spices are still considered to be highly valuable in worth and price. Here are five of the world’s most expensive spices according to today’s market prices.

1. Cinnamon – $6 per pound

Everyone knows what cinnamon is. Cinnamon is used both in savory and sweet dishes. This spice comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree, which is native to countries such as Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia. Today, it is used in many countries as a staple spice for many dishes. A dash of cinnamon adds a wonderful flavor to many beverages such as coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and even wine among a few others. A dash of cinnamon also adds a certain depth to different kinds of curry dishes. It’s a good thing that you don’t need a lot of cinnamon to make it work—considering that this spice costs roughly $6 per pound.

2. Clove – $7 to $10 per pound

This spice is popular during the holiday season, but cloves are an important flavor component in many dishes throughout the world. The clove is native to Indonesia, but it also grows in other countries such as Madagascar, Pakistan, and India. Cloves have a very distinct smell and taste, and you only need very little of it in order to get the flavors across. Cloves have many medicinal benefits, but it also happens to be a typical ingredient when it comes to perfumery and other fragrances. Cloves are quite aromatic, indeed, and when used in cooking, you can immediately identify the cloves smell once it’s been added to a dish.

3. Cardamom – $30 per pound

The flavors of cardamom are very strong. Some say that it’s a flavor-profile that you would have to grow to like; others say that cardamom is delicious indeed. Still, there are others that refuse to take cardamom at all. The flavor of this particular spice is quite strong, but in right amounts, it can turn an ordinary dish or beverage into something special. This spice is native to India and comes in two different types: black or green cardamom. The cardamom we mostly associate with the name and the flavor is the green cardamom. The black cardamom happens to have a minty taste and a smoky aroma in comparison.

4. Vanilla – $50 t0 $200 per pound

The price point obviously depends on the type of vanilla you have, but either way, you can agree that it’s pretty up there. Given the fact that vanilla flavors many things, you’d think that it’d be more affordable. Many companies copy the essence of vanilla to add to dishes, but there’s nothing in comparison to some fresh vanilla. Luckily because of the strength of the spice, you only need very little of the spice in order to get the flavors across. Mexico and Madagascar produces some of the best vanilla in the entire world, but these could cost you up to $200 per pound.

5. Saffron – $1600 t0 $5000 per pound

Saffron comes from a particular flower that’s native to Central Asia, and this is the reason why it’s so expensive. The spice itself is the stigma of the flower, and each flower has only about three stigmas. It’s quite laborious to harvest, so in order to get a pound of saffron, you’d need roughly 80,000 flowers. However, you really wouldn’t need that many for your cooking. A strand of saffron could bring the most wonderfully sweet flavor in your dishes. The addition of saffron also adds color like no other spice like it. It brings about a hint of golden yellow that’s as stunning as sunset itself.


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