Saffron Crocus sativus
Part Used Stigma (from the inside of the flower)
The stigma from a type of crocus bulb, this is the most expensive spice in the world and is used to flavor and color cheeses, butters, pastries, and confectionaries. It takes 225,000 stigma to make one pound. It is easy to see why it is so expensive when you imagine the labor needed to harvest the flower stigma and understand that each flower produces one stigma and each plant produces one and sometimes two flowers. Add to this the plants only grow to a height of a foot, the picking season lasts about 10 days and an acre produces 10 pounds of saffron.
Saffron is especially popular in Spanish dishes such as Arroz con Pollo and Paella. Saffron is a key ingredient in Indian Cookery. The flavor marries well with seafood and is used in classical fish stews.