Saffron strands are the stigmas of the saffron crocus, Crocus sativus. While they’re easy to grow you’ll need to buy a lot of bulbs – around 150 flowers will produce one gram of saffron. Saffron crocuses flower in autumn.
How to grow saffron
Saffron crocus bulbs are widely available from mail-order bulb and seed companies. Plant them in summer in moist but well-drained soil and water well. To harvest the saffron strands, simply remove using tweezers, and dry them before using them to add delicate colour and flavour to a range of dishes.
You Will Need
- Saffron crocus bulbs (Crocus sativus)
Plant the saffron crocus bulbs in late summer, in pots or borders, in a warm, sunny spot. Space them 15cm apart, at a depth of about 10cm, then firm down the soil and water in well.
When the crocuses flower in autumn, harvest the saffron strands by removing the long, bright orange-red stigmas from the centre of the flowers using tweezers. Each flower produces just three stigmas, so harvest them carefully.
Lay out the harvested stigmas on a paper towel to dry out thoroughly for a few days in a warm, dry place, then store in an air-tight container. Use sparingly in a wide range of dishes, both savoury and sweet, where they will add colour and flavour.