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Discovering Saffron in Taliouine, Morocco

The Spice Trail

Presented by Kate Humble

In this program, we visit the Berbers of Morocco, the origin of saffron, to see the purple Crocus flowers growing in what looks like a desert. The fields are irrigated with water channels dug into the ground and Sheep dung is carried by the water to fertilize at the same time. The harvest lasts no more than a month and the flowers are picked early every morning. Each bulb produces four flowers each season. During the day, the stamens are removed and it is a social event like the picking which involves almost everyone in the village. The stamens are dried. We are told that red saffron is the best, and the deeper the red, the better the saffron. Handling the flowers gives people purple fingers and the people in the area are generous with their saffron, using it in drinks and a wide range of cuisine dishes.


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