You can take a virtual trip to the Himalayas, where saffron production takes place

Only two weeks per year, the Saffron Crocus (Crocus Sativus) blooms in Kashmir Valley. It is surrounded by the Himalayas all around.

Local families race against time to collect the flowers of the autumn leaves, which is usually around November. This allows them to make one of the most valuable spices in the world: saffron. It can be sold for over 3,000 euros per kilo.

This spice is widely used in Persian, Arab, Arab, and European cuisines. The honey-hay scents are a journey through culture and time.

Dar Yasin/AP Photo
Kashmiri farmers collect saffron crocus flowers on a farm in Khrew, south of SrinagarDar Yasin/AP Photo
Dar Yasin/AP Photo
A Kashmiri farmer collects saffron crocus flowers on a farm in Khrew, south of SrinagarDar Yasin/AP Photo
Dar Yasin/AP Photo
Tasleema Banoo gathers saffron crocus flowers on a farm in Khrew, south of SrinagarDar Yasin/AP Photo
Dar Yasin/AP Photo
Tasleema Banoo walks with a jute bag filled with saffron crocus flowers as she walks home from a farm with family membersDar Yasin/AP Photo
Dar Yasin/AP Photo
Kashmiri farmer Mohammad Ramzan, center, along with his family members separates stigmas from saffron crocus flowers inside their house in KhrewDar Yasin/AP Photo
Dar Yasin/AP Photo
Stigmas of the crocus flowers are grouped together after being separated from the petals before they are dried, at India International Kashmir Saffron Trade Centre

Production of saffron is a labor-intensive and meticulous process.

First, delicate flowers are hand-picked. Then they are placed in wicker containers. 150,000 flowers are required to pick saffron for a kilogram.

Dar Yasin/AP Photo
Employees of India International Kashmir Saffron Trade Centre spread the stigma of crocus flowers on trays before drying them in a machineDar Yasin/AP Photo
Dar Yasin/AP Photo
A Kashmiri shopkeeper Shabeeh Farooq displays saffron boxes inside his showroom in Lethpora, south of SrinagarDar Yasin/AP Phot

Next, remove the purple petals from each flower by hand. This exposes three delicate stigmas which are dried in the sun or using special machines.

Families can find other ways to make the spice. Modern factories have been built to improve the quality and quantity in saffron production. However, most local legends still prefer centuries-old methods for picking and drying the material.

Apart from being indispensable in the kitchen, saffron can also be used in many other products such as medicine, cosmetics, and medicine.

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