For those of you who joined us in growing saffron this year, you should be seeing some movement in your corms above ground, and in some cases flowers beginning to bloom! This is a very exciting time considering all of our landscape has started to transition into winter.
Saffron can handle frost, and will persist even as snow begins to cover the ground. As the flowers begin to bloom, you should start to harvest them. Pluck the saffron stigmas, and if you’re interested, the stamens as well, and leave them out in an area to dry for 48 hours. This should be a place with little breeze as these stigmas are easily blown around. Once the stigmas are dry, store your saffron in an air tight container and begin using in in your future saffron recipes. The stamens can be used as dye, and have traditionally been the source of the color yellow in Nepalese cultures.
To harvest your flowers, pick the flower below its purple petals every two days, and place in a container to bring to an area where you can process the flower. Pulling back the petals to reveal the stigmas and stamens, use whatever tool you find comfortable to separate with. You should see 3-5 flowers per corm planted, so if you only pick one, don’t worry there’s more to come.
After the flower has been harvested the corm will remain vegetative and continue to develop daughter corms well into winter. Eventually the corm’s filaments will die back and the corm will go dormant until the following fall.
Our corms are 100% above ground here at Horsford’s and have begun to show flower development! Have fun and please share your saffron gardens and dishes with us, as we close out the harvest season!
-Saffron Production Team aka Steve