Can you grow and harvest saffron at home? Yes, our guide explains that with a little care, you can source this wonderful spice from your garden.
What is saffron? Saffron is a species of crocus that does not bloom in spring, but only in autumn. The Stamens contained in the flower are used. Saffron is considered the most expensive spice in the world.
How can saffron be grown? If you want to grow saffron, you should note that it needs a lot of sun to get it. Therefore, it is mainly grown in countries such as Iran, Morocco, Afghanistan, Greece or Spain. In order to be able to harvest saffron, constant temperatures around 15 degrees are necessary.
Is it worth selling saffron? The main reason that saffron is so expensive is the arduous harvest. Since a lot of plants are needed for a little saffron, it makes more sense to use the harvested saffron at home instead.
How to grow and harvest saffron at home
Many people like to use their own garden to grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs. This has the advantage that you know exactly what you are eating. In recent years, the own cultivation of saffron has become more and more popular. This article provides detailed instructions on how to grow and harvest saffron at home and what to consider when planting, caring and harvesting.
1. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world
Saffron is always a sought-after spice. The Crocus sativus is also known as red gold and is considered the most expensive spice in the world. For this reason, only the finest foods are refined with this spice. Saffron is particularly popular with foodies as it gives the dishes an unusual aroma and an intense yellow colour.
The saffron is a crocus species and belongs to the family of irises. From the lilac-coloured flower, the so-called scars are taken from it in order to produce the spice of the same name saffron. Saffron originates in the Aegean Sea.
In contrast to the usual crocuses, the Safrankrokus does not bloom in spring, but in autumn. This is because it needs a lot of warmth and sun during flowering. For this reason, saffron is mainly grown in warmer regions, such as Iran, Afghanistan or Turkey.
2. Growing saffron yourself – this is how
High-quality saffron threads should still be whole and have a deep red color.
However, most people do not know that it is also possible to grow saffron. However, this only works in regions where there is above-average sunshine. It is important that the temperatures do not fall below 15 degrees Celsius during the flowering period. Overall, therefore, saffron cultivation is not simple.
2.1. Where to plant
If you want to grow saffron, you should choose the location so that the plants get as much warmth and sunshine as possible. From July to mid-September, you can put the tubers in the ground. This should be well drained. When planting the earth, sing some peat or sand.
Plant the safrankrocus at a depth of about 10 to 12 centimetres. Make sure that the distance to the next plant is always at least 10 centimeters. The flowering takes place around October.
Tip: In the greenhouse or indoor, more suitable conditions, such as a minimum temperature, can be created. Nevertheless, the plants require a lot of sunlight.
2.2. Caring for the saffron
The saffron plant needs regular care, but must not be watered too often. Watering is only necessary in extreme drought. Although the saffron does not form seeds, it reproduces year after year through the formation of new tubers.
During the flowering period, the saffron is particularly sensitive. During this time it needs temperatures of at least 15 degrees Celsius for the flowers to develop. For this reason, southern cultivation areas are much more suitable.
The saffron can withstand temperatures of up to -15 degrees Celsius in winter. In order for the plants to survive the winter, some appropriate measures must be taken. Cover the tubers with some fleece or a few fir branches. If you have planted the plant in a pot, you can bring it into the house.
During harvesting, the threads must be painstakingly removed from the rest of the flower.
Saffron is especially expensive and valuable because the scars have to be harvested in painstaking manual work. With the help of tweezers, it is possible to separate them from the rest of the flower.
In order to harvest the saffron, the early morning hours are particularly suitable, as this can be prevented from destroying the precious essential oils.
After harvesting, the scars should be dried directly. For example, you can use a drying device. Drying is also possible in the oven. To do this, let the handles dry for 20 to 30 minutes at about 40°C. You can leave the saffron in thread shape or mortar into powder.
Keep the saffron airtight during storage to protect the scars from moisture. This allows you to easily store it for up to two years.
Saffron plants flower only once a year for about two to three weeks.
3. Sell or use yourself?
Good to knowSaffron not only refines food, but is also often used as a remedy in the field of homeopathy. According to a study by the Carstens Foundation, saffron can be used to treat depressive disorders and anxiety. The great advantage over conventional antidepressants is that there are hardly any side effects.
If you want to grow saffron, you should be aware that both planting and harvesting involve a lot of work. In addition, you need a location that is as dry and sunny as possible. The eastern regions of Germany are particularly suitable, as they have the best climatic conditions.
Growing saffron in your own garden and selling it in this country is usually not profitable. As already mentioned, the harvest is a very laborious and time-consuming work. In addition, 15,000 to 20,000 saffron flowers are needed to obtain about 100g of saffron. This means that a very large area is required.
It makes more sense to grow saffron for your own use. You can use the spice to refine both desserts and savoury dishes. When preparing, be careful not to cook the saffron for too long, otherwise the intense aroma will be lost.
Caution: Eating only 20g of saffron is fatal. However, since the household quantities are much lower, such an overdose is unusual.