Management magazine search

Loading

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saffron

Saffron: "About Saffron"

Saffron purchased at retail is monstrously expensive: around $44 for a quarter-ounce. But, amazingly, it's easy to grow in the home garden. (What makes it expensive at retail is not any difficulty in growing the plant--it's just a variety of autumn crocus--but the hand labor required to harvest the spice itself in quantity; but in quantities suited for household consumption, and for occasional much-appreciated gifts, it's no big deal.)

Saffron crocus bulbs are now available from several well-known home-garden seedsmen, who usually ship at the right time of year for planting. The bulbs you receive should be about the size of a healthy garlic clove.

There are only two easy "secrets" to readily growing your own saffron: 1) do not let dormant bulbs get materially wet, much less sit in wet ground; and 2) harvest timely. (We'll elaborate below.) A Spanish commercial saffron-grower's web site says "The cultivation of saffron needs an extreme climate; hot and dry weather in summer and cold in winter." Sound like any place we know?


Cultivars

Modern saffron is entirely hybrid and does not set seed at all--all propagation is vegetative. "Cultivars" are very rarely mentioned by home-garden seedsmen in connection with saffron, though there are certainly plenty enough out there; one, Crocus sativus 'Cashmirianus', is said to be an especially fine producer in northern gardens (we could only find one vendor, about 50% more than plain saffron crocus bulbs).

What is most important, however, is that you buy bulbs only from a reputable seed house, making quite sure that what you buy are saffron crocuses, not autumn meadow crocuses (sometimes confusingly also called saffron crocuses); be utterly sure you are getting real Crocus sativus, not Colchicum autumnale.


Planting

Your chosen seed house will probably send you the bulbs at the right time anyway, but the best time for initial planting is in early fall, typically about the start of September for our area; bulbs planted then ought to bloom (and thus provide a harvest) in the autumn of the immediately following year.

Saffron's life cycle is like this: in the autumn, it puts up leaves (which look a lot like a vigorous clump of grass), which continue to grow through the winter, often reaching 18 to 24 inches; in spring, around April, that portion of its annual cycle ends, the leaves die down, and the underground bulb goes "dormant"; then, with the return of autumn, the bulb breaks dormancy and sends up new leaves, then its flowers, and the cycle starts over. We need to know this because the one thing that will for sure kill off saffron is having its bulb stay damp for any nontrivial amount of time during the plant's dormant period. If a dormant saffron bulb sits in wet soil, it will very quickly rot completely away, leaving naught but a damp husk for the puzzled gardener's probing fingers to find. So from roughly April to September (more exactly judged by the plant's actual performance), it needs to be in dry soil.

(Naturally, there will hardly ever be any autumn flowers in the very year you plant.)

Gardeners worried about winter low temperatures can keep the containers indoors till the worst of the winter is past, but that is probably unnecessary in our climate (it is considered reliably hardy to at least Zone 6, -10° F.).

Around here, we get about an inch of rain a month in May and in June, often in the form of heavy storms: that can be fatal to outdoors saffron. Thus, we are best to plant our saffron bulbs in some sort of container (or containers: we use two 1' x 2' boxes for two dozen bulbs) that can be moved from indoors to outdoors twice a year without herniating.

Courageous souls can try growing them in ground outdoors; the crux is making very, very sure that your soil has superb drainage--a south-facing raised bed might work. They are, of course, perennials, so wherever they're set is where they'll be forever. Or one can try growing them completely indoors, but reports suggest that they do not perform as well without some outdoor time.

As to how many bulbs to plant: You should get three threads from each saffron plant. Experienced cooks will generally know how many threads they're likely to use in an average year, but for a rule of thumb figure on three threads per person for a main dish flavored with saffron (so, as an example, a family of four having a saffron-spiced dish on average once every couple of months, 24 plants would be needed: 3 threads x 4 persons x 6 meals a year / 3 threads a plant).

The planter-box soil should be rich, fairly sandy, and--above all--well-drained. Plant your bulbs 2 to 3 inches deep and the same 2 to 3 inches apart.


Growing

Crocuses do not need all-day sun, but they should get at least several hours a day. When they are in their growth stage (but never while they're dormant), water them lightly every other day. Cultivate shallowly with a light hand if weeds poke up.

When leaf growth emerges in the autumn, harden the plants off, then set them outside, preferably in a spot not only sunny but somewhat sheltered. They can tolerate a lot of cold, so the hardening-off need not be terribly prolonged: just avoid shock. In the spring, start keeping a close eye on them; when the leaves start dying back, probably in April, stop watering and bring the plants indoors for the summer. Again:do not water them once the spring leaf die-back begins.

In the autumn, the plant will break dormancy and leaves (with flowers soon to follow), will start coming up. When the first new leaves emerge is the time to reinstitute watering, harden the plants off again, and move them back outside.

The other "success secret" to growing saffron is harvesting: you've got to watch the plants daily at the right time of year and harvest from each the day it's ready--you cannot put this off and get satisfactory results. Each flower yields three stigmas (filaments or threads), which dangle from the throat of the flower. If the stigmas are not picked on the day the flower opens, or the next morning at very latest, they start to deteriorate. (Typically, new leaves appear in early September and flowers in early to middle October, but Nature follows her own calendar each year.)

When you find a newly opened flower, wait till any morning dew has thoroughly evaporated, then cut the flower. Remove cut flowers to a convenient work area--say a well-lit kitchen counter--then take a pair of tweezers and gently and carefully extract the three red-orange filaments, or threads, that you find in it--each of which should be about an inch long. Have a a secure container for plucked threads (ideally a small bottle) ready to hand, lest any blow away.

Keep watching your crop even after all bulbs have yielded a flower: it might happen that you get lucky and get a second, or even a third flower from a given bulb.

It's also important to thoroughly dry harvested threads before bottling them up for storage. Some sun-dry them (taking due care that the ultra-fine threads can't get blown away). Others use applied heat, which is OK if it's gentle heat applied over some time--remember, we want to dry the threads, not roast them. Perhaps the easiest technique is to lay them on a paper towel, with a sheet of glass or clear plastic over them to keep them from blowing away, then leave them on a sunny countertop for a while.

Saffron bulbs multiply readily, and can (and probably should) be divided every few years. Applying a small amount of balanced fertilizer annually when the bulbs break dormancy will be beneficial.


Relevant Links

Besides any links presented above on this page, the following ought to be especially helpful.

26 comments:

faheem said...

There is no contact number

I need your help.
Muhammad Imran Alam

Pakistan News said...

send me 8 saffron bullbs my mobile is 03459272893.03339002682

Pakistan News said...

send me 8 saffron bullbs my mobile is 03459272893.03339002682

suleman saleem said...

i need 7 saffron bulbs suleman saleem

suleman saleem said...

email sulemansaleem555@gmail.com

suleman saleem said...

email sulemansaleem555@gmail.com

Fayaz Khan said...

For saffron corms
please contact
saffranking@gmail.com

Rajesh Kumar Patel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miss hina said...

Islamabad Escorts Girls in the Islamic Republic is one of the slightest mind boggling and high Islamabad Escorts Girls. Our escort's young ladies territory unit educated and exceedingly skilled. Islamabad escorts Our point gives you complete satisfaction and best redirection. We have all sensibly escort specialists like High-class models, renowned individuals, young and keen young ladies.

Misha Pakistani Model said...

each one of the women have connecting with identities, magnetic and their best elegance makes Pakistan Escorts the most first class girls to go with you in the most delicate and refined social orders. to put it it appears that evidently, having our VIP ladies Escort you have a tremendous element in incomparable extravagances during everyday life. This Pakistani Escort affiliation in Pakistan is extremely the excellent area you are on the off probability which you just sector unit for first-class fervor. We choose to provide the least complex in shape to you who will make your minutes a splendid deal of peppy and upbeat. we've got uncommonly surprising and as of late like dolls and first-rate Escorts younger ladies for our regarded clients. We usually drew in to concede candy younger women noteworthy perfection.

Mid Night Lover said...

Bangalore Escorts
Escorts in Bangalore
Bangalore Independent Escorts
Bangalore Female Escorts
Bangalore Escorts Service
VIP Escorts in Bangalore
Goa Escorts Service

Islamabad Models +923098998125 said...

Our attractive VIP Rawalpindi Escorts models may be your excellent accomplices for that selective break out or tour. in the occasion that you want to emerge from the organisation or whether or not you'll probable want to combine in you may e book a lovely Pakistan Escorts Princess to go with you in your myth goal, company occasion or night time day experience. Pakistan Escorts We in fact do have Pakistani VIP girls who have labored in the displaying business organisation in addition to arrangement in all large names (and no longer similarly as a camera maintain near). mold models, incline models, appearing artists, photographic fashions, ought to all be able to be observed in this first elegance Rawalpindi Escort issuer.

Jaipurspa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hania Fahad said...

In addition to housewives and students, we also have some famous TV models from all over Pakistan that work as women escorts in Islamabad for us only for VIP gentlemen. Some people in the elite circles always look for something exclusive that is out of the reach of a common man, and in these cases we provide the best service, because we have some of the most admired models of ramps, TV artists and actresses what we know Watch every day on small and big screens and want to have sex with them. So now, if you ever need one of those celebrities who is the model of your dream, you can easily have sex with us through us, as long as you can pay a heavy tax for it. Please note that all our offers for Islamabad escort models are not made by phone for security reasons.
Islamabad Escorts
Escorts in Islamabad
Call Girls in Islamabad

Murree Escorts | Islamabad Escorts said...

Get best idea. about our services. We have best Escorts in Islamabad services available for fun. You will be glad.
read more

Unknown said...

How you support and Escort for a measure trip to Islamabad, Muree or Kashmir? What could be charges and Security?

Unknown said...

Independent Lahore Escorts Agency Provide College Going Escorts Girls In Lahore For Booking Call 03212777792
Lahore Escorts
Escorts Services In Lahore
Escorts In Lahore
Lahore Escort AgencyCall Girls In Lahore

Naazima Khan said...

Call 03216999977 For Independent Escorts In Lahore Only Out Call at Home and Hotel For Booking Call Us!
Lahore Escorts
Call Girls In Lahore
Escorts In Lahore
Lahore Escort Services
Lahore Escorts Agency

Goggly Life said...

Thanks for sharing this information with us. We have the top-notch services available for everyone. We are an Escorting agency in Pakistan. Our Websites is Young VIP escorts in Lahore and VIP Call Girls in Lahore. You can contact us for hiring girls for parties and other services.

Unknown said...

Call 03216999977 Independent Lahore Escorts Provider Out Call Options at Home and Hotels.
Escorts In Lahore
Escorts Agency In Lahore
Escorts Services In Lahore
Lahore Escorts
Call Girls In Lahore

Ankita Varma said...

Bangalore Escorts
Bangalore Escorts Services
Bangalore Call Girls
Bangalore Escorts Agency
Independent Bangalore Escorts
Bangalore Female Escorts

Ankita Varma said...

Call Girls Agency in Bangalore
Escorts in Bangalore
Bangalore Escorts Model
Bangalore Escorts
Escorts Services in Bangalore
Escorts Girls in Bangalore

VIP Karachi Models said...

Great work. I find really good information here. Thanks for sharing this article with us. Karachi Call Girls Call Girls in Karachi

VIP Girls in Islamabad said...

Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
Extremely useful information, Thank you for sharing this site. Islamabad Call Girls Call Girls in Islamabad

VIPlahoremodels said...

I love to your blog article it is really best Blog Post...
Call Girls in Lahore Lahore Call Girls

emikhan said...

Welcome to pinnacle Escorts organisation in Lahore Lahore is one of the fine cities in the global and it's miles the 2d largest town in Pakistan and as properly the Capital of Punjabi province. Lahore Escorts is the fifth biggest city in South Asia and 26th inside the global. Lahore is a favourite tourist destination because the tradition of Lahore Escorts constantly drawn to foreigners. Lahore is a most effective of Pakistan’s most interesting and unique towns and is second best to Karachi in length. The town is factually the primary town of Punjab and is regularly stated too Because of cultural hub of Pakistan, with fairly some thrilling fascinations to satisfaction the informal vacationer. people come to Lahore only for amusing and leisure and we're an escort based totally agency in Lahore.





http://www.lahorecallgirls.com/