You may remember I planted some saffron crocuses in a couple of pots in August. They started to flower this week. They’re a delicate shade of purple, each with three bright orangey-red stamens – the part of the plant that is used as a spice. They also have quite a strong heady scent if you get up close and personal with them.
Harvesting of the stamens, according to the instructions, must take place either at dawn or when the flower opens to get maximum flavour. Then you have to dry them out thoroughly, after which you can store them in an airtight jar for several years. I should end up with 90 stamens, which may sound a lot, but actually isn’t. No wonder saffron is so expensive!
An aside: I just looked up stamen (the current word of the moment) in the dictionary. It says that they are the male reproductive organs of a flower. Castrated croci!