How saffron is harvested?

In India most of the saffron which is grown on the land is imported to be used for the manufacture of saffron paste, the colour of which is of the same purity as saffron. When the importation of saffron is to be stopped, no saffron is imported from India. In some countries also, some saffron is imported from Persia and Afghanistan but the saffron which is grown in these countries is not taken outside India at the farm-gate to be sold in India.

After the export of the saffron, it enters India where it is taken on the farm (i.e. the farm-gate) and the saffron paste is manufactured. There, it is washed twice before being sold for the purpose, which brings about two things—a) It will spoil faster; and, b) It will result in increased demand for it, thereby increasing its cost of production. It is interesting to note that after the saffron is imported in the last instance the production is almost the same as the first occasion. As to the second fact, this was shown in other countries as well.

What is this “stain” in the saffron that is called a bad smell? Can it be cured?

For centuries a remedy was known which is still applied in India today—camellic acid. The remedy is very simple as, as we said before, the root of the saffron plant has all the substances needed in its composition. But the treatment for the cause of the bad smell referred to may be found in the same verses also, “And those evil spirits which haunt thee, thou art sure, shall vanish with it.”

Is it natural to eat saffron?

The saffron plant is not only used for its colouring but also for flavouring purposes from which the same is extracted and the fruit or the plant taken from the plant and made into powder and spread as a dish or a salad. In some countries the saffron used as food is of so-called saffron cake, and in others saffron juice is used. The use of saffron juice is also made to be used by different classes of people. In India, the saffron juice is prepared not only by roasting or frying the raw product but also by using the leaves, dried fruits and seeds. However, in the northern countries saffron juice is extracted more easily with the help