Cultivated for several millennia around the Mediterranean basin, saffron first conquered our plates before ending up in our gardens. Still rare and precious, this spice, taken from the flowers of Crocus sativus, requires a touch of patience and a pinch of dexterity. Produce your own saffron yourself by following these tips.
Crocus sativus or Cultivated Crocus: Bulbous plant from 10 to 20cm, with a fibrous tunic, with long and narrow meshes. 1 to 2 flowers, with tubular perianth with pubescent throat, pink to purplish with yellow anthers (half longer than the filament) and stigmas, as long as the perianth, colored scarlet red.
Saffron Crocus bulbs are planted in the middle of summer, ideally between July and August , it is also one of the rare plants that can be planted during a heat wave without having to worry about the recovery . Depending on the region, it will not be planted in quite the same way:
To sum up, Crocus sativus is planted facing south at a depth of 15 cm in very draining soil.
Compared to other Crocuses, the sativus has inverted vegetation. It will flower in October and dry up in the spring while the others flower in April and dry up in the summer. The late flowering of saffron being accompanied by a drop in temperature and an increase in atmospheric humidity, to harvest good quality saffron it is important to choose a ventilated place. The atmosphere must be dry and the plant must be able to breathe. The Crocus does not like competition, so be sure to weed regularly.
The harvest takes place in autumn, between October and November. The stigmas are “ripe” when they emerge from the flower. Pick the flowers at the end of the morning, when the humidity is low, prune them and put the stigmas to dry either in the sun or in a warm oven (no more than 60C°) for 30 minutes maximum. Keep the precious stigmas in a small airtight box.
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