The flowering stage of the saffron starts in October and continues for three weeks. Each flower lives for only 48 hours, which is why it is key to ensure harvest within this short period of time.
The saffron flowers should be picked early morning, as soon as they open. It is important for the saffron pickers to pick the flowers in a fast pace, as the wilting of the flowers makes the post-harvest process difficult. The optimal harvest time is in the very early morning, before there is full sun.
Each saffron flower has three stigmas, the women carefully handpick each flower. The flowers are taken to the processing warehouse where the women separate the stigmas from the flower. Each flower has three stigmas and it takes about 70,000 saffron flowers to make one pound of the saffron spice. The saffron stigmas are carefully dried and packaged.
So much manual labor goes into making the saffron spice. This is why saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.
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