A new saffron company just launched and it aims to make an impact. Founded by Kabul native Tahmina Ghaffer, Moonflowers offers premium-grade Afghan saffron that is hand-harvested by women farmers in Afghanistan's Herat region. The company's mission is to ensure that the women are empowered with fair wages and credit for their work.
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"Saffron, also referred to as 'red gold', is one of the most expensive spices in the world," Ghaffer tells Hunker. "This is in part due to the intensity of labor and precision involved in growing, harvesting, and processing saffron. Saffron flowers only bloom for three weeks, once a year, in October and into early November."
Since each flower only has three stigmas, 75,000 flowers must quickly be picked by hand — and under moonlight hours because the sun will wilt them — to create just one pound of saffron.
When you think of saffron, you might picture it as an added spice in a dish. However, you can also make a lovely tea with it. "The saffron spice is known for its anti-inflammatory and calmative effects, making it an anti-stress adaptogen ... One easy way to add saffron into your diet is with tea – when you make it hot, all you need to do is add a pinch of the saffron spice into hot water and let it steep for five minutes," Ghaffer says.
If you're making an iced drink, you'll want to grind the spice to a powder first. Then, add three tablespoons of hot water, let it cool, and add ice and more water as you see fit.
In addition to supporting the women farmers who make Moonflowers what it is, the brand will also be donating 1% of its profits to Skateistan, a non-profit that provides recreational and educational opportunities for kids in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa.
With prices from $12.99 to $53.99, you can shop the products here. The packaging was designed by Polonsky & Friends and inspired by Middle Eastern architecture, landscapes, and poetry, so each item truly tells a story.
Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: firstname.lastname@example.org