Lots of saffron crocus blossoms

ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)October 19, 2008

I have been harvesting many saffron crocus flowers thai past week. I had planted only about 20 bulbs two years aho, and last year was the first for them to bloom. I only got about 5. This year, I have been plucking the flowers 4-5 at a time every day for the last week. The area they are planted in has some serious rodent protection, which includes wire screening under and around them, I also added some abrasive pellets that rodents hate to dig through. Looks like next year I will have to seperate most of the bulbs, as they are now getting quite crowded. I used a lot of bone meal this year, and even planted another 10 saffron crocus bulbs nearby the other ones. During the summer, its an area that gets quite overgrown with dill. Nearby, I even have some foot tall dill plants that have survived since late August.

Soon, a big batch of saffron rice with some middle eastern seasoned beef, lamb, and chicken all grilled, and served with a raw onion, and a few roasted tomatoes. Sumac is also used as a sprinkle on seasoning.

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ediej1209(5 N Central OH)

I'm assuming these aren't the same kind of crocus that blooms near the end of winter. I've seen "autumn-blooming" crocus bulbs in some of the catalogs. Are these ones that you harvest saffron from, or is there a specific named type you have to grow?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 6:23PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

There is a specific saffron crocus that blooms only in fall. These have three long deep orange stamens, and they first send up thin greens in about early September, and now flower. There are spring crocus, but they have no smell or taste, or even give off the noticable bright yellow color, so they are not saffron. I bought these from a reputable dealer who sells saffron crocus. Richters in Canada also sells them, and my early summer order had arrived about 3 weeks ago and have been planted nearby the established ones. as mentioned, I have to dig the older ones up next spring, as there are maybe 3-5 bulb clusters all in the same area. They don't mind crowding at first, but tend to not produce many flowers at this time of year. I used a good dose of pelletzed bone meal on the original ones as well as on the newly planted ones. There are other autumn blooming crocus, and one time a dealer sent me something that was supposed to be saffron. a few weeks after I got them, the company sent me a letter of apology and told me that they had some crocus that were mis identified, so they refunded my money. Those crocus wure 2-3 times bigger than Saffron ones, and the rodents ate them all up along with all my tulips, some years ago.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 7:03PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

I grew saffron crocus for the first time this year. After putting the in the ground, the squirrels got to them, so I planted the rest that I had in a long deep window box type container and they are blooing nicely.
I do have a question, once you pick the stamens, is there anything in particular that I have to do to them before using?
I just have them drying now, I do find it odd that they have no aroma as of yet. ANd I know saffron has a strong smell to them. That is why I thought maybe they need to be roasted or something?
Thanks, Christy

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 4:55PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

ediej1209 - if you are interested in trying to grow Saffron Crocus make sure you get Crocus sativus from a reputable supplier. There is some confusion with Colchicum autumnale which looks like a large flowered autumn blooming crocus and goes by the common name of Meadow Saffron. However, it is not a true crocus and is very poisonous.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 5:45PM
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nancedar(z7NC)

How much money do you save when you try to grow your own saffron if you are planted in the dirt that your poisonous crocus grew? Don't you think that they called it "croak-us" for a reason?

Nancy

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 7:47PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The crocus mentioned as being a poisonous one has very long stems to the blossoms. One supplier sent me a note to tell me thay were fooled into that type too, and said to plant them in an area where you just want fall flowers to grow. Because they grow so tall they fall over easy. Saffron crocus flowers only grow about 3-6 inches tall with their stems. I used a 1/4 inch holed steel mesh screening. The squirrels didn't bother digging but VOLES do! They voles ate up all my tulips and crocus bulbs everywhere. These saffron crocus are planted in a small area with that screening as a big box under the bulbs. I also added some rodent repellent which is very abrasive bits of small stone that hurt when the rodents dig into it. I added bone meal and the second planting has just now shown up as green leaves only. The saffron crocus has very little smell and taste the first couple of years, as it matures it gets a bit stonger. Only issue is they multiply fast, so every few years you need to dig them up and seperate the corms. A good organic fertilizer high in phosphorous will help to get more blooms and later on taste. I got my recent ones from Richters, who sell quite a large selection of herbs and plants. You usually only use a few stamens per recipe. Too much in a recipe and it can get medicinal tasting.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 12:40PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

I got mine from Brent and Becky's bulbs. They are pretty reputable. And yes, I have Sativus.
This is their first year and they are flowering. I know some do not even flower until their second.
When your first batch came, were they bland? Did they give any flavor at all?
I am a veggie gardener, and cook quite often, so I have used saffron numerous times.
I have my bulbs in a deep long planter, with screen on top and I have to cut holes threw the screen to let the flowers and leaves come through. It is the only way to keep these squirrels away. Trust me, these squirrels know me well, and they know I grow lots of food, so they have come up with all types of ways to get through anything here. They are lucky that I don't believe in guns, hehe!
I did fertilize the soil very well with bonemeal and bulb fertilizer. SO I think I have them in a well suited place.
How long did your saffron stay bland? Christy

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 1:58PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Could it be that the fragrance is released mostly by cooking and not too apparent before that?

Also, I find saffron to work best if I mash it in some of the hot cooking liquid with a small mortar and pestle. If just sprinkled into the food while cooking, very little color or flavor is released. With mashing, it releases a LOT.

Jim

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 2:09PM
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