And why would it still be so expensive?
I’ve written before about the history of spices in the Middle East and their role in cultural and medicinal practice. The spice trade began as early as the 13th century with the rise of Islamic traders; this led to increased trade in different sorts of spices, which led to the rise of distinct spices. One of the earliest recorded spices was turmeric, which was used in Asia from the 16th to 19th centuries. In the 19th century, it became a common spice in Europe, the USA and South Africa.
Turmeric. Photograph: Alamy
As it spreads throughout the world, it has become increasingly common, with some reports claiming that it can cure any illness for which it’s popular. In South America, it is known as an aphrodisiac, with men who eat curry more likely to have erections. According to the Indian government’s National Agricultural Academy, turmeric has also been used to treat diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and kidney stones.
It’s also been used to make an alternative medicines called kabaddi, which are said to cure a range of ailments, including cancer.
This was particularly common in South Asia, where the traditional use of curries, which can be made from any vegetable you can find, combined with spices from all over the globe (the use of turmeric for that is particularly interesting, because the Indian government used the spice in an attempt to curb cancer by drinking turmeric’s kabaddi, which is quite an anti-carcinogenic), makes it difficult to find a good alternative.
So saffron was found in ancient India, the Middle East and China, and then exported
So saffron was found in ancient India, the Middle East and China, and then exported. In the 1700’s, a number of Asian countries introduced saffron as a currency, and its use spread to more parts of the world. After this, it has been cultivated in Europe and has become a major crop in the US, where it is eaten in many foods, for a number of things including curries.
Its use in spice making was also common in Asia, where it is used in making several kinds of preparations, including kabaddi. This is probably where it came from, as I’ve seen a number of recipes that claim to use saffron in a variety of different foods.
“So saffron was found in ancient India