Saffron, the most popular of fall flowering crocus, also carries the distinction of bearing the world’s most expensive spice. Known as the quintessential spice in paella, and a component of many Middle Eastern Dishes, saffron is easy to grow. Like all fall flowering crocus, saffron needs to be planted in late August / Early September and offers a showy display of color 4 to 6 weeks later.

Saffron crocus will offer the home gardener a harvest of this spice once the blooms open up and reveal the orange-red stigma of the flower. Using tweezers, the stigma can be removed and the saffron can be used fresh in cooking or dried. Simply place the threads on a paper towel in a cool dry location and store in an airtight jar. Saffron can be kept for up to two years before it loses its flavor. Only a little is needed to lend flavor and color to a dish.

This purple beauty is easily grown in moist, well-drained soil in either full or partial sun. Saffron crocus is available in packaged units, bin boxes, and ceramic planters that act as a great gift. Harvest your own spice, and add some late color to your garden long after your last summer blooms fade.

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