Saffron, a/k/a the Gold of the Greek Earth, was regarded one of the most popular and valuable spices of the ancient civilizations thanks to its flavor, color, pharmaceutical and aphrodisiac properties.
Nowadays, it is believed to be one of Greece’s most valuable and worthwhile exports as the Greek variety is one of the world’s best.
Producers from the northern Greek city of Kozani plant saffron every summer and when autumn arrives, they remove the precious stigmas of the beautiful flower by hand, and they carefully drain them, so that they make the deep red delicate yarns.
Taking into account that nearly 50,000 stigmas are needed in order to produce 100 grams of red saffron and that 1 gram costs more than $3.90, the news that the Kozani-based producers agreed with American merchants to deliver about 600 kilograms of saffron is a boost for Greek exports.
That represents about one-third of the Kozani cooperative’s annual sales and the businesses are seeking to sell more in America and are also looking toward Russia, while they have already exported saffron to France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.
Saffron is an elegant spice used not only in cooking recipes but also in beverages and as part of international cosmetic products. Cleopatra used it in her cosmetics and the ancient Phoenicians included it in their offerings to the goddess Astarte. Homer mentioned it in his writings and now more Americans will get to know of its magic.