Tuesday, 18 October 2011
With the change of season I am embarking on new adventures in the garden. Our first autumn and our first time clearing the leaves and cutting back trees and shrubs ready for winter.
One exciting thing is that my saffron crocii have bloomed! I planted them a few months ago and carefully mulched the spot so I would be able to remember that I had planted there. Whilst I was away the bulbs sprang forth and bloomed.
It is painstaking work, but I think the end result is worth it. The hardest part is getting up really early to pick the threads before the sun hits them.....supposedly the best flavour and colour that way. Each red thread must be hand picked from the flower, which contains three threads in total. A few petals and stamen did fall victim to my picking, but were easy enough to discard later. To process the threads I placed them for a few minutes on paper towel to absorb any early morning dew, then into a jar and semi covered to dry for a few weeks.
I have a few ounces of saffron threads drying slowly, and am hoping that I will have more flowers in next few days. There are a few gaps in the spot where I planted, so hopefully they are just late bloomers - not dead bulbs.
How perfect that the saffron is harvested at this time of year when warming casseroles, rissottos and other hearty meals are craved. I am looking forward to using it to add colour and depth of flavour to my autumn dishes.