In the growing saffron process, saffron is harvested from the blooms of Crocus Sativus (Iridaceae), widely known by the name the saffron crocus or bulbs of saffron. The bulbs that produce it are known as corms. Each corm produces new bulbs, and this will be how it grows. Saffron blooms appear in the fall and are harvested to make the red stigmas, which we recognize as threads of saffron that are the source that is where the spice. Each flower produces three stigmas and is carefully harvested by hand. The flowers should be picked by noon, as they wilt quickly. This is a tedious process and exact. This is why saffron was deemed to be so valuable that it was called red gold.
Saffron Crocus can be found in many countries, including Iranian saffron, India, Afghanistan, Italy, France, New Zealand, Pennsylvania, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Morocco, Turkey and some regions of China. Because this plant is grown in various areas of the world, The methods of planting used in the cultivation of saffron may differ dependent on weather conditions and the kind of soil, the depth of planting and the spacing of the corms.
Related: Saffron Producing Countries
Growing Saffron and Caring for Saffron
The cultivation of your own saffron crocus bulbs is simple, as the stigmas that are red provide an abundance of costly saffron spices. Following these tips, you can plant and maintain the garden with saffron.
- Choose a hospitable environment: Growing saffron crocus blooms thrive in USDA zones 6 to 8. Choose a dry spot that is shady for maximum growth.
- Grow saffron in dairy crates: Certain growers have found that saffron thrives better in milk crates rather than directly in the garden. The milk crates protect your plants against rodents and also allows them to move plants indoors during winter when the weather is warmer than zone six hardiness.
- Choose soil that is well-drained: Saffron thrives in well-drained soil with plenty of compost and organic material.
- Plant your saffron-crocus bulbs: Find saffron bulbs in any nursery and place them in your yard during the beginning of fall. Plant ten bulbs of crocus per square foot.
- You can water your saffron plant: Saffron is a favorite during the dry Mediterranean climates. You can lightly mist or water the soil if the rainfall is less than 6 inches per month in the area where you reside. The crocus that blooms in autumn will display green leaves in early spring and bloom in spectacular blooms in the autumn. After blooming, saffron corms enter a dormancy stage as the flowers and leaves are dying. Dormant corms may rot and die if they are left in moist soil. If the soil is in good condition, the new leaves will develop, and your saffron flowers every year in September.
- Allow room to grow more blooms: The saffron plant grows each year as corms grow beneath the soil and they grow new flowers.
- Fertilize your saffron plant: Fertilizing the saffron plant isn’t required; however, feeding them at least once per year could encourage growth.
How to Get the Most Saffron
In the latter half of summer, your saffron flowers will be close to being harvested and ready to harvest in the autumn. Harvesting saffron requires careful plucking the stigmas out of the sharp flowers. Make use of your fingers or tweezers to take out the stigmas. After harvesting the stigmas, dry them with an absorbent paper towel, then store their contents in an airtight container. To get the best flavor and freshness, you should use saffron within 6 months after harvesting.