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Saffron spice is expensive, delicious, and a culinary legend.
It has a sweet, unique wonderful flavour, and powerful yellow colouring
But it comes from a bulb that is easy to grow in the home garden.
So you can do your own.
Lovely large purple autumn blooms
Crocus sativus bulbs have lovely large purple flowers in autumn.
Each with 3 long, vivid orange stigma which you can harvest as saffron spice.
So, you can grow your own Saffron spice at home plus decorate your garden with eye-catching autumn blooms.
How to grow bulbs of Crocus sativus
Crocus sativus bulbs are easy and undemanding to grow.
Providing you give them a site with plenty of sunshine and well drained soil.
They will not thrive in heavy, badly drained, or boggy soil. However, they are also happy in a large pot if necessary.
And a few frosts and cold over winter help condition the bulb and produce more flowers. They prefer dry summers.
Low water needs over summer
Bulbs grow to 40cm. high in flower, with a neat clump of fine, grass-like foliage.
They are not messy and are very easy to have in the garden.
However, they are summer dormant, so they do need to be in a spot that is not watered too often over summer.
They are unsuitable for tropical areas north of Sydney but thrive in areas with winter cold and rain, and summer heat and dry.
Easy low maintenance
Bulbs flower and multiply each year. So each bulb can produce a clump with up to 15 bulbs by 5 years of age.
Bulbs can be left undisturbed for years. Bilbs do not require to be lifted or divided each year, though you can dig and respace about every five years.
Plant the bulb with approx. 5cm of soil above the tip and about 15cm. between bulbs.
How to harvest your Saffron spice
The hard part is getting out of bed early enough.
Because you need to pluck the 3 orange stigmas from the centre of each flower before the sun hits them, for best flavour results.
The fine strings of saffron stigmas are then simply laid out to dry for 3-5 days in a well-aired, shaded, sheltered spot.
Then you pop them into an airtight glass container and store in a cool, dry, dark pantry area.
And use for their delicious, sweet aromatic flavour and glorious colouring.
A long & regal history
In earlier centuries Saffron was used as golden colouring for medieval stained glass, for sumptuous cuisine in royal kitchens, and as medicine.
It is reputed to be the most expensive and prized spice in the world.
Recipe for Quick & Easy Saffron Rice
Ingredients – Serves 4
Pinch of dried saffron threads
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion finely chopped
300 grams of basmati rice
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander as garnish
You can add flavour and crunch by also garnishing with some pine nuts, raisins and/or fresh pomegranate seeds, along with the fresh coriander
Quick & easy method
First combine the sea salt and the saffron by crushing in a mortar and pestle
Then heat the oil in a saucepan, add the finely chopped onion, and cook gently stirring the onion often.
This only takes about 8 minutes.
Now stir in the rice.
And add 650ml boiling water and bring the saucepan back to the boil quickly.
Stirring in the saffron & salt mixture.
Now reduce the heat to low, and cover the saucepan to simmer until the rice is rice is softened to your taste.
Remove from heat and allow the rice to cool a little, then whisk with a fork to separate the grains and make the rice fluffy.
Garnish with the coriander and any other delicious crunchy bits you fancy.
Quarantine Restriction: None. Crocus sativus can be shipped to all states in Australia, including Tasmania and Western Australia, by Di’s Delightful Plants – one of Australia’s largest and most experienced mail order nurseries.
If you buy 3-6 plants there will be a $0.50 discount per plant"
If you buy 7+ plants there will be a $1.00 discount per plant
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