How To Grow Saffron? Saffron is a delicious spice that is used in many Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. It has a distinct bittersweet flavor and a brilliant yellow color that it adds to dishes that it is used in. It is the most expensive spice, weight for weight being worth more than gold!
The reason that saffron is so expensive is that it is the stamen of a flower that needs to be picked by hand. The stamen is part of the central parts of a flower. Namely the area that the pollen is deposited on to fertilize the flower. Each flower only contains three of these stamens that are 1.5 to 2 cm long and a few of millimeters wide. When they are dried they are even smaller and lighter!
Saffron comes from a type of bulb called a crocus, specifically crocus sativus. This type of crocus flowers in the fall rather than spring like many crocuses. The bulbs are quite small and produce foliage about 8 to twelve cm in height. When buying crocus bulbs for saffron be sure to get the right species. The spring flowering bulbs are poisonous, be sure to get the right ones!
Many people wonder how to grow saffron. Really it is very easy. You can buy the bulbs from many different bulb growers. Just do an internet search to find one local to you. Then just choose a sunny well drained spot and away you go. This site on gardening in your backyard has a great article which goes into detail about how to go about growing saffron.
Using saffron in cooking is very easy. Be sure to either grow your own or buy it from a reputable supplier. Certainly don’t buy powdered saffron as this often contains fillers or inferior quality stamens. When using saffron soak it in some warm liquid for 10-15 minutes before using to draw out as much of the flavor as possible. Add the liquid along with the saffron strands to your cooking. As well as using saffron in savory dishes you can incorporate it in to desserts and sweets as well.
Saffron has a many health benefits – if you are someone that has trouble sleeping, using a saffron herbal supplement can also help you to avoid those restless or sleepless nights. The best way to use saffron to help you sleep is by mixing it with some milk or tea and your favorite sweetener and then drinking it before bed. Saffron, when taken correctly, is effective at treating mild to moderate depression.An herbal saffron supplement can decrease the chances of getting arteriosclerosis. The saffron acts as a stimulant and an antioxidant to help increase the circulation throughout the body.
Lastly be sure to store your saffron in an airtight jar in a dark place to preserve its flavor for as long as possible. Once you have tried this delicious spice you will want to keep using it again and again to take advantage of its wonderful flavors.