Does anyone grow their own saffron? Can you use C. cartwrightianus or other crocus to get a true saffron? I'm in zone 6 . . .
I have crocus sativa growing in my garden (zone 4 to 5). You do need to get this variety. I bought mine on line from White Flower Farm: http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/910891-product.html
They're very easy to grow!
Here's a picture from my 2010 harvest, LOL.
H.A.N.D. : love the photo!
I hope you have an acre of land to work with because the stamins from one flower don't add up to much. It's probably 1/4 acre for one paella.
Yes, three stamens per flower and a two-week blooming period offer serious challenges to "harvesting." I was poring over plant catalogs and wondering if it were even possible. I found this very informative:
I grew my own for many years in Massachusetts. I'm pretty sure I got mine from White Farm as well. I didn't plant any 1/4 acre of land, but rather I tucked them in anywhere I could find a little space in my herb garden. As the flowers began to bloom, I'd check each day, cut out the stamens, and set them in a little dish to dry. I got about enough for one paella each year, and as long as I was vigilant about harvesting, the quality was excellent. It was pretty fun.
White FLOWER Farm, of course. And Helen's All Night Diner picture is spot on!
One more little thought and maybe an additional encouragement: the saffron crocuses bloom in the fall rather than the spring, making them an especially fun flower to have in your herb garden, even if you doubt your abilities to keep up with the stamen-by-stamen harvest.
Yes Greenstuff, I totally agree! I love gardening and probably would collect stamens for fun, as I collected seedheads and weeded and everything else . . . I was looking over fall-blooming bulbs and there are some very pretty crocuses (crocii?) to choose from, but the sativa got me to thinking. Coincidentally the sativas are less expensive than the others . . . I love White Flower in general but I happened to be looking at this: http://www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com That's why I also asked about C. cartwrightianus, which I will order even if it doesn't . . . "yield" ;)