this is a blog post on growing and harvesting saffron at home. Saffron is a spice used to color a common dish called paella. It can be used to color drinks and food like rice or meat dishes as well. It is one of the world’s most expensive spices. Commonly used in Asia, North Africa, and some Mediterranean dishes.
Also known as Crocus sativus as exotic as it is known it easy to grow in UK or temperate climate. One word of caution is not mixing it up with deadly colchicum spp. or commonly called meadow saffron. So always check and buy the correct bulb. If grown there won’t be any saffron threads. read on further on growing and harvesting saffron at home.
Growing saffron from scratch at home
To get growing saffron you will need to get hold of Crocus sativus or saffron bulbs. It is usually available in August when the plant goes dormant with it’s leaves/ foliage dies back. When buying blubs buy those that are of nice size. I have in the past bought bulbs online but they were small the leaves grew but no flower. It is better if you buy the bulb in person, or the seller gives the measurement of bulb size. My previous bulbs just simply disappear as the season goes. Probably eaten by squirrels.
This time I got mine in a garden shop. I was overjoyed to see the leaves start to appear after a short time. something like 4-5 weeks. I grew in two places one on a raised bed. The other is a fairly sunny spot in a pot as I didn’t want the bulbs to be eaten by squirrels this time. I just a mixture of manure and coconut peat compost. Due to current times, I was just simply easier to buy compacted compost rather than bags of conventional compost. The flowers start appearing when the foliage grew. As it is my first time growing saffron from bulbs, I don’t expect a lot of flowers to appear from one bulb. It produces about one or two flowers from each bulb. the color is vivid which is lovely in October/ November.
To harvest saffron when the saffron strands appear I just pluck them off with my fingers. do use tweezers if you have around. The freshly harvested saffron will have a lovely aroma. If left to dry the strands will shrink but will keep in a dry cool place.
Thank you for dropping by do have a look at my other blog posts like growing and harvesting coriander.