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Mar 16, 2008 02:03 PM

Eyeing the crocus...anyone ever DIY saffron?

Anybody ever use fresh or home-dried crocus stamens out of your garden for saffron?
I'll do some internet poking, but thought if anyone was doing this in America, they might be one of you on this board...
Is there something special one does with the fresh saffron as opposed to the dried?
Do we even grow the right kind of crocus? the fresh stamens are a deep orange-y yellow when alive on the plant

mr google is giving me the idea that it's a fall blooming variety of croci...

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  1. the crocus used for saffron is a particular kind of crocus. If I remember well, when I went to L'Aquila in Italy, where it is produced, they told me that you couldn't eat other varieties.

    1. Saffron is the stamens from an autumn flowering Crocus, not the smaller spring blooming varieties. Yes, you can save the stamens from Crocus sativa, but you'd need a boatload of bulbs to grow enough.

      All other crocus, spring and fall blooming are poisonous, so it might be best to find a good source for Saffron and buy it.

      google 'Crocus sativus' for detailed info.

      1 Reply
      1. re: toodie jane

        toodie jane said "All other crocus, spring and fall blooming are poisonous, so it might be best to find a good source for Saffron and buy it"

        Ruh-roh! I've plucked the little hairs from local spring-blooming and eaten them out of curiousity several times times. They taste neither bad nor good and thankfully I haven't had any ill digestive repercussions. Yet! Now I know.

      2. I've grown Crocus sativus for about ten years.
        My initial order of six bulbs from Park or Wayside are now at least a hundred.
        I live in east TN, near Knoxville, and the blooms appear in mid October. The saffron must be harvested within two or three days of emergence. I then air dry them on paper towels.
        The bulbs are dormant through summer, then emerge and bloom and then grow really long narrow leaves through winter into spring and then go dormant.
        Good drainage helps.
        My long term plan it to put a recumbent thyme over them. But my immediate problem is that rabbits discovered the leaves for the first time this past winter and the bulbs NEED leaves now. Rabbits have no respect for long term plans.

        2 Replies
        1. re: shallots

          shallots -- thanks so much
          how does the homegrown compare to the stuff in little plastic boxes?
          : )

          1. re: pitu

            I'm too frugal ever to have bought it.
            The color from my home grown is excellent as is the flavor. (But I still mourn the year I lost it by trying to dry them in an enclosed box , to keep out kitten hair. Well, we do still have the cat and she's excellent so ....)