Saffron ( crocus sativa )
Saffron (crocus sativa) is known as a culinary herb, a dye herb and a medicinal herb. It is a well-known spice. As a culinary herb, Saffron is popular in rice dishes and clear soups. It is also used in cakes, breads and cookies. Crocus sativa goes well with eggs, cheeses, fish, meats, and vegetables. It is an expensive herb to purchase as it takes over 35,000 flowers to yield a pound of saffron. One grain of saffron is made up of the dried stigmas of nine Saffron. As a dye herb, it yields a deep yellow dye. About four thousand blossoms are needed to produce one ounce of dye. As a medicinal herb, crocus sativa has been recommended for colds, tumors, insomnia and cancer. It has also been considered an appetite stimulant. However crocus sativa is so expensive that it is rarely used as a medicinal herb.
Climate and Light: Saffron likes a cold climate and partial shade.
Soil: crocus sativa prefers a rich soil
Water: It also likes a lot of moisture.
Growing Habit: The lavender flowers of crocus sativa appear ahead of the foliage and are not terribly showy. It blooms in the fall.
Propagation: Plant corms in all or spring about 3 inches to 4 inches deep. New clumps will be produced every year. Saffron likes mulch protection in the winter.
Harvesting and Storage: To obtain saffron, harvest flowers during the blooming period. Remove the stigmata and part of the styler. Thousands of flowers must be used even for a modest yield. Let the stigmata dry on a piece of paper. Store in a sealed glass container in a cool, dry place. Commercially, the stigmata are placed beneath a weight on a special kiln. Under the weight, the safron dries to form a thick cake.
Companion Plant: I am no aware of any companion plant.
Remarks: Good luck on harvesting enough to use.