A new book offers some fascinating information
The first time I met her, she looked absolutely miserable, but it was an image I still remember today. She told me that she had never had a healthy appetite in the past, despite consuming five different varieties of saffron.
With her pale skin and small nose, she resembled an angel in the traditional Indian dress but, just from her physical appearance alone, was obviously extremely overweight, and had a high-ceilinged flat stomach.
She gave me an explanation, but it was more like I was listening to a woman give a lecture, not like a person.
I was in India visiting my parents when I encountered her, in the early 1930s. And like any good Indian woman, my mother and father were equally appalled at her.
It was in 1934 that I learned that India’s famed green gold saffron wasn’t all green.
What is saffron?
For many centuries, India has traditionally used saffron to represent purity, fertility and beauty which is considered an ideal to uphold.
The colour blue, and its counterpart gold, are believed to have been used in the ancient world because they have the power of healing as well as protection.
But in ancient times no one wore blue. The colours of the saffron have remained the same because they symbolised purity itself.
So here is how the saffron story begins
Around the dawn of civilization, it was also believed that the red colour of the saffron was associated with life. Ancient Egyptians believed a strong colour in the sky made the soul live in the skies and help protect them from evil.
The word “saifa” means “pure” or “pure”.
There are many theories as to the purpose of the yellow colour of the saffron. Some say the colour means it is an emollient and has soothing properties.
Others say it symbolises the purity of a woman, and symbolises the union of the physical and mental being.
Others believe it serves as a protector and sustenance in war.
A man named Kailash Kunte discovered saffron in the ancient city of Kedarnath in north India and became the first person to commercially exploit it.
In the 1890s, the British and Dutch introduced the white saffron spice into India making the white saffron widely used in the Western world even when it contained yellow
white saffron crocus, where does saffron grow best, saffron seeds, climate to grow ginger, fertilizer for saffron