Ninety-five percent of the world’s saffron comes from
Iran . It has traditionally been grown in Khorasan, an
area (about the size of England) in the north-east of
Iran, with ideal soil and climate conditions for the
crop. Saffron is a valuable spice with origins in the
Zagros Mountains area since the “Mede” era.
Saffron, which takes a lot of labor to produce, is
actually a very small part of the plant Crocus sativus
Lineas and everything about it is really interesting.
Every day during the
one month harvest season that starts around mid-October more
than four hundred thousand people in southern Khorasan get up
before dawn to go to the fields and pick the beautiful delicate
lilac flowers that have bloomed overnight. They must be picked
before being exposed to too much sunshine. The flowers are then
carried in wicker baskets to the processing areas where the
stigmas are patiently removed by hand.
The next step is to gently toast the stigmas in order to dry
them before they are tested, sorted, packed and sealed, insuring
that the full, unique and exquisite flavor, aroma and color of
this “vegetable gold” reaches the consumer.