THE RICH TRADITION OF KASHMIRI SAFFRON ?

THE RICH TRADITION OF KASHMIRI SAFFRON ? THE RICH TRADITION OF KASHMIRI SAFFRON ?

THE RICH TRADITION OF KASHMIRI SAFFRON ?
It is a misty morning in early October, and the air is redolent with the fragrance of Crocus sativus, the flower that produces the precious spice know
n as saffron, or zafran by its Persian name. Villagers in traditional pherans, or woolen gowns, pick the delicate flowers, filling their wicker baskets.Pampore, a small village known as the “saffron capital of India” that is a 30-minute drive from Srinagar, the capital of the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. Grown in Kashmir at an altitude of over 1,600 meters, saffron is tightly woven into the local economy, with more than 20,000 families engaged in related businesses, mostly in the districts of Pulwama, Srinagar and Budgam. The prized spice is extracted as threads from the stigma and style of the flower. While there are conflicting accounts about how the spice came to India, most agree that Iranians spread it across the subcontinent as their influence there grew from the 13th century onward, culminating in the Mughal Empire.Iran still produces 90% of the world’s saffron.Saffron has always captured the imagination of the rich and famous.
The legendary Egyptian ruler Cleopatra is said to have indulged in saffron baths for their cosmetic and aphrodisiacal qualities.

A kilogram of the spice can cost up to $4,000 — partly because it takes many as 150,000 flowers to produce that amount. Because the seeds produced by the flower are sterile, farmers propagate the flowers asexually using bulbs, called corms.Saffron is a delicate plant that thrives only in moist soils rich in humus — the dark, organic material that forms when plant and animal matter decays. Also The spice is one of the most popular ingredients used for coloring and flavoring kehwa a popular Kashmiri saffron tea.Kehwa is made by boiling several spices, including cinnamon, cardamom and saffron, and is often served hot with honey and almond shavings and makes for an energizing and refreshing drink & Gives A Youthful Glow .

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