The correct use of spices when cooking can make or break your dish, but in some cases, they can also feel like they’re breaking the bank. Saffron is always the first to come to mind as one of the most expensive ingredients by weight, but it isn’t the only spice that can look costly when lined up on the supermarket shelf.
The top five most expensive spices in the world are:
Why are these spices so expensive?
The reason why spices such as cardamom, vanilla, and saffron are so expensive by weight comes down to how they are grown and the labor that goes into their harvest. Saffron, for example, is the stigma of the Crocus Sativus, which only produces three stigma threads per flower, vanilla comes from an orchid that grows on a vine high up in tall trees and so is difficult to harvest, and cardamom must be picked by hand while only three-quarters ripe - a process that cannot be automated.
These labor-intensive harvesting processes drive up the cost of these delicate spices, which, when combined with the additional factor of supply and demand, is responsible for making them some of the most expensive ingredients by weight in the world.
Are expensive spices worth it?
When comparing the cost of saffron, vanilla, or cardamom to the price of other cheaper ingredients, it can be challenging to justify the expense, but it is important to remember that when using these fragrant spices, you usually only need very little of them at a time. Like other strong flavors, with spices such as cardamom, a little goes a long way, and so although a packet of cardamom pods may seem like a costly expense, if stored correctly, they will serve as a valuable ingredient in many recipes for weeks and months to come.
How to buy expensive spices in an affordable way
Just because spices such as vanilla, saffron, and cardamom are more expensive to produce doesn’t mean that you can’t bag yourself a bargain. Thanks to the internet, it is now easier than ever to find good quality spices at affordable prices on sites such as Amazon or by shopping at specialist stores such as ours here at Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts. Here at Ayoub’s, we believe that the best quality spices should be accessible to everyone, which is why we endeavor to source the very best spices from across the globe and sell them to our customers at competitive prices.