If your rice is yellow, then the odds are it has been sharing a saucepan with saffron. The spice, nicknamed ‘Red Gold’ is the vivid reddish blot (or ribbons) of a crocus flower, and it is used as a colouring agent in food.
Why does something so small cost so much? It’s weight for weight, more expensive than gold itself. The reasons are straightforward: Saffron crocuses only flower for a week or two in the fall; harvesting the spice is labor intensive (it is gathered and processed by hand); and every little flower has just three stigma, which means it takes approximately two soccer pitches of crocuses to make a kilogram of saffron. That is as many as 300,000 blossoms!