Vanilla is seemingly a prima donna spice because its pods have to be hand-pollinated and then boiled and dried in the direct sun for only one hour. iStockphoto hide caption

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At about $15 a gram, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Rumi Spice has a unique model of employing Afghan farmers who are growing it that aims to double or even triple their annual income. Cristina Hirschkorn/Courtesy of Rumi Spice hide caption

itoggle caption Cristina Hirschkorn/Courtesy of Rumi Spice

Pepper is the spice most commonly contaminated with salmonella and other pathogens. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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