Saffron rice is one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes, and growing the saffron is easy to do if you plant Crocus Sativas; the Saffron Crocus corm. Saffron is a spice produced from large red/orange stigmas of the Crocus Sativas flower. It is an autumn-flowering crocus with pale reddish-purple flowers, produced from a corm, native to warmer regions of the Mediterranean and Eurasian region of the world. Historically saffron was quite valuable as it took up to 100,000 flowers to produce a single pound of the spice. These days you can grow the delicate flowers yourself and build your own flavorful kitchen. DutchGrown.com sent out several saffron crocus corms for me to plant this season, and so I learned how to grow the interesting crocus and have been rewarded with a spice I can use in my culinary adventures.
HOW TO GROW SAFFRON CROCUS
- Saffron Crocus do well in Zone 6 or higher. I grew my corms in Zone 5 expecting them to flower the same year I planted them. If I don’t lift and store them, they might not survive our colder winters. Flowers developed 6 weeks after planting.
- Plant corms 4″ deep and 3″ apart, add organic bulb fertilizer at time of planting.
- Harvest the stigmas once the flowers are fully opened. Dry the stigmas before storing.
- Once flowers are done blooming, store the bulb corms in dry sand or peat moss over the winter if you are lifting and storing; plant again in the spring.
In order to use the saffron, you must steep the threads in a hot liquid before mixing in with your favorite Mediterranean recipes. What an absolutely wonderful learning experience for your family to grow saffron crocus then use the spice for cooking experiments of all kinds. Happy Fall Gardening!