Posts tagged ‘crocus’

How to grow saffron

Saffron isn’t a spice that we use a huge amount of but like most gardeners I like to experiment with growing as many different things as possible in my garden.  Saffron is quite easy to grow.  It is produced from the stamen of  Crocus Sativus.  The crocus are a group of small flowering bulbs.  Most types of crocus flower in the spring, but the saffron crocus flowers in the autumn, not long after the leaves are produced.  For me this year it was in April.

Saffron -  the red stamens of the saffron crocus growing in my garden.

Saffron - the red stamens of the saffron crocus growing in my garden.

Saffron is produced from the stamens which are the bright red strands hanging from the flowers in the picture.  To harvest you simply pluck the stamens out of the flower, preferably as soon as possible after the flower opens, but I have harvested a few days after opening and they seem to be fine.  However it can be a bit of a battle to get to them before the snails do.  After harvesting you just have to leave the stamens in a cool dry place, preferably out of the sun to dry for a few days.  Then you can store the saffron in a sealed jar or the like.  In the picture below you can see some fresh saffron laid on some paper towel to dry along side some that has been drying for a few days.


Growing saffron is really quite easy.  Try to choose a site that will get full sun and has very good drainage.  Like most bulbs, saffron crocus bulbs will rot if the drainage is poor.  If you have heavy clay soils consider growing the saffron in a raised bed, or at very least dig in some grit to open up the soil.  Remember that many bulbs are originally from mountainous areas with freely draining soils and lots of sunshine. continue reading..