Saffron is the only spice in the world extracted from a flower. It is expensive because much manual labour is involved. Usually this work is done by women.
From October to mid-November, in the early hours, Khadija and other women of Taliouine pick the crocus flowers. Saffron is the tiny red pistil which needs to be extracted from the heart of the flower. It is a delicate stage in the production of saffron. Flower after flower, women extract the pistil, a meticulous work that requires patience and that is done in group. Saffron ties these women together.
The extracted threads are dehydrated as quickly as possible in order to conserve saffron quality. Once dried, all impurities are removed and the threads are weighed and packed.
All these stages help explain why the spice is so expensive. Yet, those who work so hard in the production process do not get the benefits.