Kashmiri Saffron, the world’s most superior spice takes more than just ordinary drudgery to get harvested. The process to get the most posh strands of your luxurious spice is immaculate with grinding moil. World’s purest saffron is harvested in the quaint little town of Pampore, also known as the “Saffron Capital of India”. Pampore is located 14 kilometres from Srinagar. More than 20,000 families residing in Pampore are related to the cultivation of Saffron.
The Purple Crocus flower is the most essential and foremost component of saffron production. The requisite weather conditions for this flower to flourish fortuitously is dry and warm but it can also tolerate mild snow covers. The production of saffron is an arduous process and this is what makes the spice so benign and valued.
The seeds(also known as Corms) of this wondrous flower are sowed in summer and the flowers bloom to get harvested by mid- to late-autumn. The cultivators make sure to pick the flowers by hand before or after sunrise to protect them from direct sunlight. Familial saffron harvesters still prefer the traditional and time-honoured way of harvesting the flowers by hand and believe that mechanical harvesting damages the delicate yield.
The process starts by villagers delicately plucking the flowers and placing them carefully in their wicker baskets. Each flower has three fundamental parts—the petals, the yellow strands and the red strands. The flowers are now sorted in these three parts and kept separately. Kashmiri, pure saffron is contrived from the red petals. It takes more than 1,50,000 red strands to yield a kilogram of your luxurious spice. The separation is followed by drying of the red petals on a charcoal fire pit for almost 12 hours. This is a labor-intensive harvesting course that takes almost 370-470 hours to produce a kilogram of Kashmiri saffron.
Saffron fields are colossal enthralment for tourists that visit Kashmir. Wide open patches of land densely lashed with gratifying purple flowers and surrounded by snow covered peaks along with the flowers’ bewitching smell make it a scenery to die for. Apart from Pampore, other districts that produce Saffron are Budgam, Srinagar and Kishtwar. However, Pampore of Pulwama district still remains to be the bulkiest producer because of its ideal soil type that adds more appraisal to the spice.