The saffron crocus with the botanical name Crocus sativus is, as its name suggests, the plant used to produce the famous saffron, this rare and expensive spice. Contrary to what one might think, saffron can be grown almost anywhere in France and although saffron is an expensive spice, its cultivation is actually simple and accessible to all gardeners . Its price is determined by the labor required to harvest it and not by its difficulty of cultivation. Indeed, it is necessary to harvest approximately 150 flowers to obtain 1 gram of saffron.

How to properly grow the saffron crocus?

Growing Crocus sativus is easy provided you meet a few conditions. The saffron crocus needs a well-drained soil , the earth must not retain humidity. Indeed, excess humidity, especially in winter, could in extreme cases cause the bulbs to rot. A sandy or clay-limestone soil will be perfect. This botanical crocus is grown in full sun exposure .

Saffron crocus bulbs are best planted between July and September . If your soil is too heavy, add sand or peat when planting. Make a small hole 10-15 centimeters deep in the ground , and install the bulbs there at the bottom, keeping a gap of 10 cm between each bulb. After planting, proceed, if necessary, to a first watering.

Finally, know that saffron, even if it is preferable to install it in the ground, can also be grown very well in pots or planters . You will get perfect flowering, but the harvest will be in proportion to your containers. After all, a few saffron-scented plates isn’t bad enough!

Saffron Crocus bulbs

When and how to harvest saffron?

The flowers generally appear in October or November, flowering is spread over 3 or 4 weeks. Harvest when the flowers are fully open, when the pistils are bright red. Two harvesting methods are possible:

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– In the case of a small number of flowers , you can leave the flower in place and extract only the 3 red filaments from the pistil using tweezers. This operation is called pruning.

-For large quantities of flowers it will be in your interest to pick them as soon as they are in full bloom and then to collect the red pistils comfortably seated around a table. Namely that the pruning must be done just after picking the flowers so that this operation is easier.

Then, it is necessary to dry the filaments in order to be able to preserve it. Drying can be done by placing the pistils on a sieve in the open sun for 20-30 minutes. For its conservation, it is recommended to keep it in a small airtight jar away from light at least one month before consumption. During the following two years, the saffron retains most of its taste qualities.

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