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The most expensive spices of the world

April 18, 2012  by: Sarika  Points: 12   Category: Others  Earning $0.80   Views: 1399

This article is a list of seven most expensive spices of the world


The most expensive spices of the world

Plants or parts of plants used mainly to enhance the taste of food are known as “Spices”. Spices are known to man time immemorial and have been in use since 50,000 BCE. Innumerable numbers of spices are known to man and are used for different purposes like flavoring agent in food, coloring agents and preservatives and so on. Spice trade developed around 20,000 BCE in Middle East and East Asia. Today India is the biggest exporter of spices in the international market with providing almost 86% of the total demand. Spices are valued based on their availability, use, medicinal qualities, aroma and other such properties. Let us have a look at the 10 most expensive spices of the world.

Saffron: Saffron is undoubtedly the most expensive spice of the world with a wholesale rate ranging between 500$ - 5000$ per pound and a retail rate of 1,100$ - 11,000$ per Kg. Approximately 1,50,000 flowers are needed to be picked to produce 1 Kg of dried saffron. Stigmas from the flowers are removed, dried and then stored in air-tight jars/bottles. Saffron which is also known as Zaffran or Kesar produces a very intensive color owing to the presence of carotenoid type pigments. It is cultivated from the West Mediterranean (Spain) to India (Kashmir). Spain and Iran produce about 80%of the world’s saffron and thus are the largest producers. Due to its intensive flavor only a small amount is enough.

Vanilla: Vanilla, the world’s 2nd most expensive spice, comes from the ripe fruit pods of the Vanilla orchid which is native to Central America. The wholesale price ranges from 50$ - 200$ per pound. The word vanilla is derived from the Spanish word “vaina” literally meaning a little pod. The “Totonac” people inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico were the first ones to cultivate Vanilla. Today Indonesia and Madagascar are the two major producers of Vanilla accounting to almost 83% of the world’s production. The majority of world’s Vanilla commonly knows and “Bourbon Vanilla” comes from Madagascar. Due to its intensive aroma and addictive flavor Vanilla is used in many commercial and domestic purposes like baking, making chocolates, custards etc.

Cardamom: India is the largest producer of cardamom which is world’s third most expensive spice. It has a sweet and pleasant aroma and is used mainly as a flavoring agent in cooking. Mainly seeds are used in cooking however, the entire fruit pods are sold as otherwise the seeds lose the aroma quite quickly. Indian domestic demand is too high and therefore Guatemala is the world’s largest exporter of cardamom. Almost 60% of the cardamom production is exported to the Arab countries where apart from cooking most of it is used for making coffee. Cardamom is rich in vitamins and minerals. The seeds have also been shown to have antioxidant, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.

Cloves: The name clove comes from the Latin name “clavus” which literally means nails. Cloves are the dried flower buds of the evergreen tree which is native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia. Presently cloves are harvested mainly in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Abundance of essential oils, mainly Eugenol (70%) is responsible for the strong aroma of cloves. The buds are used in cooking either whole or in powdered form. Research has shown that cloves also have antioxidant, anti-helminthic and anti-diabetic properties. Clove oil is used as an anti-septic and pain killer in many dental emergencies.

Cinnamon: This ancient spice comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree which is native to South East Asia. It is highly aromatic and sweet in nature. Sri Lanka is the largest producer of world’s cinnamon (90%). It is used as a flavoring agent in cooking and desserts either as whole or in powdered form. Cinnamon has been also shown to have antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties.

Pepper: Pepper is native to western coast of South India (Kerala). Presently, Vietnam is contributing almost 34% of the total world’s pepper and is the largest producer. Pepper is the spice which brought Europeans to Asia and made them establish a spice trade. Piperine is the main chemical substance that is responsible for the spiciness of pepper. The fruit of the plant known as peppercorn is dried and processed to produce the commercially available pepper. Based on the method of production pepper can be black, red, white or green in color. The dried peppercorns should be crushed fresh before use as otherwise the aroma is lost due to the volatile essential oils. It is used all over the world for cooking purposes. Pepper has been proved useful against throat congestion, sore throat, cough and cold, constipation, insomnia and so on.

Turmeric: Turmeirc or Curcuma is native to tropical South Asia. Presently India (Andhra Pradesh) is the largest turmeric producing country in the world.Intense yellow color of turmeric is due to the presence of a chemical substance called Curcumin. The roots of the plant called “Rhizomes” are dried and processed to produce turmeric. It is mainly used in the powdered form but dried chunks are also used. A very small amount is enough due to its intense color and flavor. It has proven antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-aging properties and thus is used in cosmetic industry. It is also used as an skin lightening agent. Research is going on to collect more evidence for its anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Author: deepa        
Posted Date: 04/22/2012    Points:2    

very good, wow, do you write for knoji? if not please join. You need a referral link to join and write. Do post the answer here and I will mail you the link.
Author: Sarika        
Posted Date: 04/22/2012    Points:2    

Thanks deepa. I just checked knoji.com. Before today I did not know about this site. Thanks for introducing me to it. It would be nice to become a member of such a knowledge pool.
Author: Joina        
Posted Date: 04/23/2012    Points:2    

The article which you have posted here is very very informative and so attractive. You tried to explain very well about each of the expensive spices which we are using for our daily cooking. The pictures give more attraction to this article. Well done.
Author: Sarika        
Posted Date: 05/21/2012    Points:3    

Dear Joina. Thank you very much. You are right these are the spices we are using daily in our kitchen. Before writing this article I was also not aware that these spices were so expensive. I feel so lucky that we Indians have access to these spices as we are among the largest producers. I am happy that you liked my article and it was informative for you too as it was informative for me.

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