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From a flower in Kashmir comes a precious spice - Saffron; here's how it's cultivated

Saffron is one of the most expensive and sought-after spice in the world also known as the golden spice
Nov 15, 2020 / 06:00 PM IST
Cradled by low mountains and spread across a vast expanse of small, fertile fields, a sea of purple flowers opens in Himalayan Kashmir to produce one of the world’s most precious spices, saffron. Crocus flowers that have been uprooted stand placed on a table at the home of a farmer in Dussu, south of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. The farmers separate purple petals of the flowers by hand and, from each of them, come out three deep crimson-colored stigmas, one of the most expensive and sought-after spice in the world called saffron, also known as “the golden spice." Across the world, saffron is used in multiple products ranging from medicine, beauty and food. A kilogram (2.2 pounds) of saffron can easily sell anywhere between $3,000 to $4,000. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Cradled by low mountains and spread across a vast expanse of small, fertile fields, a sea of purple flowers opens in Himalayan Kashmir to produce one of the world’s most precious spices, saffron. (Image: AP Photo)
At the end of autumn, families in the Valley race against the clock to harvest the saffron crocus flowers, which bloom for only two weeks a year. Men, women, and children stoop as they laboriously pick the delicate flowers and place them in wicker baskets. A Kashmiri farmer family plucks crocus flowers, the stigma of which produces saffron, on a farm in Khrew, south of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. (Image: AP Photo)
At the end of autumn, families in the Valley race against the clock to harvest the saffron crocus flowers, which bloom for only two weeks a year. Men, women, and children stoop as they laboriously pick the delicate flowers and place them in wicker baskets. A Kashmiri farmer family plucks crocus flowers, the stigma of which produces saffron, on a farm in Khrew, south of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. (Image: AP Photo)
Tasleema Banoo gathers crocus flowers, the stigma of which produces saffron, on a farm in Khrew, south of Srinagar. (Image: AP Photo)
Tasleema Banoo gathers crocus flowers, the stigma of which produces saffron, on a farm in Khrew, south of Srinagar. (Image: AP Photo)
The farmers separate the purple petals by hand, and from each flower comes three tiny, delicate stigmas which are then dried in the sun, becoming one the most expensive and sought-after spices. Kashmiri farmer Mohammad Ramzan, center, along with his family members, removes the stigma of crocus flowers inside their house. It is one of the most expensive and sought-after spice in the world also known as “the golden spice". (Image: AP Photo)
The farmers separate the purple petals by hand, and from each flower comes three tiny, delicate stigmas which are then dried in the sun, becoming one the most expensive and sought-after spices. Kashmiri farmer Mohammad Ramzan, center, along with his family members, removes the stigma of crocus flowers inside their house. It is one of the most expensive and sought-after spice in the world also known as “the golden spice". (Image: AP Photo)
Across the world, saffron is used in products ranging from food to medicine and cosmetics. A kilogram requires the stigmas of about 150,000 flowers and can easily sell for $3,000-$4,000. A Kashmiri shopkeeper Shabeeh Farooq displays saffron boxes inside his showroom in Lethpora, south of Srinagar. (Image: AP Photo)
Across the world, saffron is used in products ranging from food to medicine and cosmetics. A kilogram requires the stigmas of about 150,000 flowers and can easily sell for $3,000-$4,000. A Kashmiri shopkeeper Shabeeh Farooq displays saffron boxes inside his showroom in Lethpora, south of Srinagar. (Image: AP Photo)
In Kashmir, the spice is a source of pride and has fuelled the region’s economy and culture for centuries. However, over the years its cultivation has faced troubles due to climate change, poor irrigation facilities, and imports of cheaper Iranian saffron. Strife in the region has also impacted its production and export. Here an Employees of India International Kashmir Saffron Trade Centre spread the stigma of crocus flowers on trays before drying them in a machine in Dussu. (Image: AP Photo)
In Kashmir, the spice is a source of pride and has fuelled the region’s economy and culture for centuries. However, over the years its cultivation has faced troubles due to climate change, poor irrigation facilities, and imports of cheaper Iranian saffron. Strife in the region has also impacted its production and export. Here an Employees of India International Kashmir Saffron Trade Centre spread the stigma of crocus flowers on trays before drying them in a machine in Dussu. (Image: AP Photo)
To boost saffron’s cultivation and export, authorities in Kashmir have set up a high-tech spice park to increase production quality and quantity. But very few farmers find the latest technology lucrative and most still use century-old techniques for picking and drying the saffron. Most of Kashmir’s saffron is grown in Pampore, a tiny town south of the region’s main city, Srinagar. (Image: AP Photo)
To boost saffron’s cultivation and export, authorities in Kashmir have set up a high-tech spice park to increase production quality and quantity. But very few farmers find the latest technology lucrative and most still use century-old techniques for picking and drying the saffron. Most of Kashmir’s saffron is grown in Pampore, a tiny town south of the region’s main city, Srinagar. (Image: AP Photo)
In Kashmir, the spice is mostly used in Kehwa, a slow-brewed sugary green tea infused with spices like cinnamon and cardamom and garnished with almonds. Saffron is also used in Wazwan, a traditional Kashmiri wedding meal cooked by special chefs that includes more than 30 dishes. (Image: AP Photo)
In Kashmir, the spice is mostly used in Kehwa, a slow-brewed sugary green tea infused with spices like cinnamon and cardamom and garnished with almonds. Saffron is also used in Wazwan, a traditional Kashmiri wedding meal cooked by special chefs that includes more than 30 dishes. (Image: AP Photo)
Associated Press
first published: Nov 15, 2020 06:00 pm

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