Herb of the Week for 4th May
Sensational Saffron by Lynn Kirkland
Autumn is a stunning season and I will
say it is my pick as my favourite season.
You often wake to crispness in the air
which is followed
by clear blue skies and the stillness
in the air.
The colours on our oak trees here at the
herb farm are spectacular this year. Brighter,
richer and more vibrant than I have ever
seen them. I wonder if the dry conditions
we have had are influencing this fabulous
Also bringing joy at the moment is the
annual appearance of the world's most
sativus, always flowers in April and
this year they are a little later and
we will be harvesting our stamens into
Those rich red stamens you can see emerging
from the purple flower are the part that
is of interest to saffron users.
Pick them and dry them carefully before
storing them in the dark for use in your
Saffron has a natural colouring and it
is for this reason that we gather our
We infuse them in alcohol and this makes
a potent natural colourant.
It is over ten years ago that we bought
a hundred saffron corms from Crop and
Over the years they have multiplied and
we have moved them around the garden when
they have been dormant.
They are not difficult to grow and the
biggest problem we have had was in the
early days when rabbits would chew the
emerging foliage and pull the corms up
in the process.
Saffron is grown commercially in New Zealand
however even if it is the most expensive
spice in the world it is not a get rich
Hand harvesting the stamens which weigh
so little means hard work to get a good
Stunning to look at in the garden and
exciting and satisfying for the keen chef
who wants to grow their own saffron.