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Crocus Sativus -- ' Saffron Crocus '

amy

By amy

61 comments


Saffron is a beautiful and tough little plant that produces the worlds most expensive spice …

This is the start of a new project for me , my aim is to produce my own Saffron for cooking ..

My bulbs arrived on August 9th with the growing instructions , … Plants your bulbs as soon as possible ,ideally early August , they will produce beautifuly scented blooms in 4-6 weeks .

Once you have your beautiful blooms you may start harvesting the Saffron , it is done by collecting the plants stigmas or flowers , either by scissors / hands or tweezers , preferably at dawn or just as the crocus opens.

Harvest can last several weeks from October through to November .
Once you have finished harvesting you need to seperate the orange / red stigmas from the flowers and let them dry out thoroughly , after they have dried out they can be kept for several years providing they are stored in an airtight Jar ……

Progress so far ! will they flower this year or not ?
The leaves should be long and thin and mustn’t be cut off after flowering as these thin leaves allow bulbs to regenerate and enlarge year on year to produce 3 smaller bulbs which you can replant if you wish ………

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Comments

 

what a lovely project ~ i was wondering about the getting up at dawn but in october and november it wont be quite so early but i love the thought of all those fragrant crocuses[?] ~ all the best, i hope it works! will you be selling it if it is really successful?

7 Nov, 2010

 

looking good amy, at least they are growing for you, i cant understand why safron is so exspensive, hope you have great success :o))

7 Nov, 2010

 

Wow what an ambitious project Amy it sounds very technical, Wish you luck and look forward to see how it develops!

7 Nov, 2010

 

Fascinating Amy, will be very interested to see how you get on, looking good so far, please keep us posted.........

7 Nov, 2010

 

This is very intriguing, Amy!!! Please keep us posted! :-))

7 Nov, 2010

 

You must have so much patience Amy,but hope you get good results...it will be very satisfying for you,if you do.good luck with the getting up at dawn bit.:o))

7 Nov, 2010

 

Wishing you success with this very interesting trial, Amy. Look forward to reading more about this .... : o )

7 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Dawn is way to early for my usual routine Stickitoffee but the excitement of picking my own Saffron might lure me out of my duvet , I think we would have to grow a lot to consider selling it .. .... I don't know why it is San , I suppose you can only collect a couple of strands from each plant , you need an awful lot to weigh anything .. I hope it's not as difficult as it sounds Carole :o)
I will let you know how it goes Lincslass , don't worry if one flower opens this year it's pic will go straight on here ..
I will keep you posted David .. apparently they don't like a lot of rain so we have put a row of bricks all round and stakes in the corners supporting sheets of glass approx 1ft above the plants to keep a lot of the rain out ... .. :o))

7 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks Sandra , I sent an email to the company asking if they meant they flowered this year or next , they sent a short email back saying there's still time , so fingers crossed .:-)
I wil let you all know how they develop Shirley ... :o)

7 Nov, 2010

 

mine got eaten by the squirrels grrr.

7 Nov, 2010

 

Fascinating project, Amy...
I will watch and wait with interest :o) ....

7 Nov, 2010

 

You are very adventurous Amy :o)
I hope you get a good crop !

7 Nov, 2010

 

Fascinating Amy....good luck with the harvest :)

7 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

That's a shame Sbg ... thanks for the info. we have squirrels here , I will think of a way to protect the crocus from them !
It's quite an exciting venture TT , I hope it works out ... Thanks Hywel ,I hope I get some saffron this year if not I will have to wait for another whole year :o(

7 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks for the good luck Whistonlass , I might need it :o)

7 Nov, 2010

 

Very interesting blog Amy, look forward to seeing how you get on, should save yourself a fortune:-)

7 Nov, 2010

 

This is really interesting Amy...I hope they send some flowers soon....I wonder what colour they will be? Hope they get a move on and you've your saffron to use soon...:o)

7 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks Kathy / Janey wouldn't it be nice to have saffron on the spice shelf home grown , as you say kathy it would save so much it is very expensive to buy , I hope it works .. :o)

8 Nov, 2010

 

Have to agree very interesting project looking forward to seeing how you get on, good luck.

8 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks Carol ,there's no sign of any flowers yet :o(

8 Nov, 2010

 

good luck with your saffron....

8 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks Holly .. that's kind of you :-)

8 Nov, 2010

 

I love the photo, regimented row up on row. They look like little leeks, you've just got to let us know how you get on, and how many you harvest!

8 Nov, 2010

bjs
Bjs
 

Will watch with Interest. Have tried them in the past for the flowers not the spice and found them difficult to flower.if the bulbs split they will need feeding otherwise they will not build up to flowering size.

9 Nov, 2010

 

I'll follow this with interest! I buy my saffron from our local health food shop as it's a lot cheaper than s/markets and use it a lot. The plain old spud boiled with saffron takes it to another level, same with a good quality Basmati rice (always buy from asian s/markets).
Just a thought here - would it not be a good idea to construct an openable frame to protect them from damp weather near the time of harvest?

9 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks Sandy , I have to admit they do look like leeks :-)
Thanks for that info. Bis , any information to help me is welcome !
I'm really looking forward to experimenting with my own Saffron Meanie , We have put bricks round with a shelter of glass over the top also some chicken wire round the side since Seaburngirl informed me that the squirrels are partial to the bulbs , fingers crossed , i'm doing everything I can ... ;o)

9 Nov, 2010

 

Coconut and basmati rice pudding with saffron is a treat too. Add passion fruit, mango etc too towards the end.

9 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Yummy , sounds delicious !! I love all those things ....

9 Nov, 2010

 

I'm really living in the dark ages! I've never used saffron and I'll have to investigate how it is used to season food...it seems many of you have great recipes that are enhanced by it's flavour. Yummy :)

9 Nov, 2010

 

Well done for trying. Actually I've just been watching a programme on the telly showing crocuses being grown and literally thousands being harvested, with lots of ladies picking out the stamens which are of course what is dried and know as saffron.

It is a lovely spice to use with a faintly exotic flavour and it gives food the most lovely yellow colour. I must admit though that I don't use it very often because of its cost but it is nice for special occasion cookery.

I shall be interested to see how yours comes along and so have added you to my favourites.

9 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Whistonlass , you might be put off by the price , it's so expensive to use almost a luxury thats why i'm keen to try to grow it ..

I wish I had seen the programme Mariek , thank you for showing an interest , I hope I will have something to show you at a later date :o))

9 Nov, 2010

 

Amy, our son is keen on using various spices when he cooks and I asked him today about saffron...and as you say, it is very expensive and rather a luxury, so he has never used it for those reasons.

He did say that someone known to him had some saffron given to them from Turkey and when they opened it up it was full of worms/maggots. I wonder if the spice is more susceptible to infestations like that?

I won't be rushing out to buy any just now. I'll wait to see how you get on with your experiment!

9 Nov, 2010

 

A good tip in general is that most spices, and dried herbs too, are cheaper from a good independent health food shop.

9 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Whistonlass , that is so yukky .. ... I wonder if it hadn't been carefully dried and put in a proper sealed container... my son enjoys cooking with spices , it comes from sharing rooms at uni with all nationalities , they learn a lot that way , he usually cooks me something nice when they come on holiday......

You are right about that Meanie , although I do grow most of my own herbs and pick them straight from the garden , you can freeze them quite successfully as well ......

9 Nov, 2010

 

Can you grow coriander successfully? If so, what's the secret!!
Forgot to add to my tip that I buy large bags of lime leaves from the asian supermarket very cheaply and these freeze well too!

9 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

I have grown Coriander Meanie , it's a hardy annual , it likes well-rotted manure or compost in a sunny position , sow the seeds 1/4 " deep where they are to grow ... . cut the heads off to dry in trays in the sun or indoors.. once they are quite dry shake the seeds out and store in an airtight container ... . I do the same with Fennel seeds , they seed themselves everywhere !
Thanks for the tip about the lime leaves , you sound like an expert cook .. :-)

9 Nov, 2010

 

I can "grow" the seeds easily! I can't get good leaf growth, no matter what I've tried!

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Do you get the seed heads Meanie ?

10 Nov, 2010

 

Seeds are easy peasy Amy!!
What I have never been able to achieve is a good leaf harvest, and boy have I tried!!

10 Nov, 2010

bjs
Bjs
 

Meanie
excuse my ignorance but tell me what do you use Asian Lime Leaves for.familer with the fruit but thats it.

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Well I don't know the answer to that Meanie , give it a good talking to next time , shout and wave your fist !! it will make you feel good if nothing else ..lol.....

10 Nov, 2010

 

I use Kaffir lime leaves mostly in Thai green curry. But great added to fish dishes (broths, fish cakes etc), chicken dishes (bruise the leaves and stuff into chicken breasts before cooking), add to rice when boiling. Basically, they give a smoother lime taste than juice does, but need to be cooked in fairly slowly and then discarded (as you would a bay leaf). If used in Thai fish cakes, shred them very finely.

10 Nov, 2010

 

I've been doing that for years Amy!!!
Chucked in the towel now and just buy bunches of the stuff from the asian supermarket!
Hate to be beaten though.

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

My mouth is watering at the thought of the Thai green curry etc. I'm hoping to have a Thai meal next week when we go to visit our Granddaughter we usually go to a very nice Thai restaurant in Cirencester , I always look forward to that ...

Try treating it rough Meanie , put it in an a pot with nothing but old teabags and leftovers , that will make it pull it's socks up ..:o))

10 Nov, 2010

 

I'll give it another shot next year Amy!

I can add MY easy pilau rice recipe if you want....

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Yes please Meanie .. I have a favourite Pilaf recipe ( is there a difference between Pilaf and Pilau ) I suppose there must be ... if yours is quicker and easier I would like it , Thanks .....

10 Nov, 2010

 

Pilaf would be more like a Biryani - pilau is just the rice accompaniment.

There are no two recipes the same (Google it), so mine is a reasonable take that's quick and easy! It passed "Mrs Ahmeds" test!!!

Serves two:
1x cup of good Basmati rice
6x black/green or mixed cardamon pods
3x cloves
1x dessert spoon of fennel seeds
1x teaspoon cummin seeds
half a cinnamon stick
3x curry or bay leaves
Pinch of saffron

Soak the rice and spices (except the saffron) for as long as possible in cold water (I try for at least 2 hrs), and then drain. Wash in several washes of cold water whilst a pan of water comes to the boil.
When the water is boiling, add the rice and the spices, plus the saffron.
Depending on how long the rice was soaking, it can be cooked in just 5 minutes from when it returns to the boil.
Sieve the rice when cooked. At this stage you can add chopped coriander if you want. Go through the rice as you serve it picking out the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamon pods and curry/bay leaves.

So simple.
Best done with good basmati from an asian supermarket/store - it tastes so much better than our s/market stuff!!
All the other ingredients are available from independant health food shops cheaply!

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thank you so much for the recipe Meanie , I have copied and pasted it into my recipe folder , I don't know who Mrs Ahmed is but if the Pilaf passed the test with her it MUST be good ....
I can see what you mean about my Pilau being like a Biryani ... you really do sound like an expert cook !
I will deff. be trying this I have the ingredients except for the Curry leaves also my Basmati rice hasn't come from an asian store , my nearest store is in Norwich I will be stocking up next time i'm there ...
Thanks for taking the time out to do this for me ..
I hope you are feeling a little better today .. :o)

10 Nov, 2010

 

Ahmed is my next door neighbour, so Mrs Ahmed is.......
Bizaarly, she has just popped round some chicken patties with........ lime leaves in!!
Don't confuse my Pilau with Pilaf - the pilau goes with something else, particularly a curry, as it carries it's own flavour. It's also nice cold on a buffet or with a salad.
Deffo a little better today!

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

I did get them muddled didn't I ? yours is Pilau sorry abou that .... it's a good job you spotted it ! I put the wrong name on my recipe sheet . ~~ lucky you to have such a nice neighbour to bring tasty food round to you , the chicken patties sound delicious ... :o)

10 Nov, 2010

 

Too late - all gone!!
Weird coincidence though!!!

10 Nov, 2010

bjs
Bjs
 

Hi Amy
Your Saffron crocus and my lack of success in flowering it set me thinking(quite rare these days)it was some years ago i tried growing it and i did not persevere for any length of time,
I imagain you researched it before buying the corms so will not state the obvious.
But did you know it was grown in quantity at Saffron Walden many years ago i never connected it.
That it was used widely as a drug guaranteed to cure even the Plague.!
And that it will take 4,320 good flowers( a good flower has nine stigmata) to produce an ounce of pollen.
And when properly dried if one places a finger on it will make cracking sound ,this apparently is how the dealers new it to be pure.if the seller was caught adding other substances they invariably lost there head.
I have also found out that not all saffron Crocus are true species some are Hybrids,now weather this has been done because the true species is sterile so canot be increased from seed or if some one has come up with a combination that produces more pollen i do not know.
Just thought you might like to no .

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks for all that info Bis .I did know about Saffron Waldon we go there sometimes ...a friend has a flat there ... well if you need that many flowers for an oz. of pollen I shall never have enough with my few plants ( 35 bulbs ) :o( thats interesting about putting your finger on it to make a cracking noise , I wonder how loud the noise is ? not worth losing your head over :o)
I've just been rereading the paperwork that came with my bulbs and it dosn't actually say if they are true hybrids or not ... it does say that each bulb will each year produce 3 smaller bulbs which you can transplant to increase your stock if you wish .. .. thanks for letting me know these details .. :o))

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Meanie ! how could you tell me about the Patties , getting my taste buds working overtime and then eating them all yourself .. thats not nice ...:o(

10 Nov, 2010

 

I do wish you success, Amy! I planted some of these crocuses for some autumn colour - not a flower in sight. :-( Maybe next year?

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks for your good wishes Barbara , I have a feeling that I'm going to need it ! the bulbs are producing leaf but as yet there's no sign of any flowers ... I'm thinking it's getting to late for them now .. we will both be looking out for them next year :o( ...

11 Nov, 2010

 

I think you're right. :-((

11 Nov, 2010

 

You might find this Wikipedia page interesting, Amy!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffron

11 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

Thanks Balcony , ... it's kind of you to take the trouble , I will be sure to take a look at it .. :o))

11 Nov, 2010

 

Hi
Can you tell me where you can buy crocus bulb or saffron , Can you write me please for more quastions if you want.

thanks

ali.moonbat@gmail.com

10 Apr, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Hello Ali , you can buy Saffron crocus bulbs from Suttons seeds ...
www.suttons.co.uk/saffroncrocus
or Tel.no 0844 922 0606 ...

The Address is :-

Suttons Seeds
Woodview Road ,
Paignton,
Devon
TQ4 7NG

I hope you are able to get some Saffron Crocus Bulbs , please let me know how you get on with it !

10 Apr, 2012

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