Process Of Growing And Processing Saffron

A costly spice worldwide

Kesar or Zafran- is a costly spice worldwide and is an interesting plant since it can grow almost anywhere. Red gold is the nickname of saffron spice because this is an expensive spice. Farmers cultivate saffron mainly in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, and Kashmir. However, it can grow almost anywhere in the world. This spice is costly because it is extremely difficult to harvest the crop.

The saffron crop

The saffron crop grows up to 20 cm in height and is a bulbous perennial plant with rounded corms. It is the corm that farmers plant for the cultivation of saffron. Saffron or saffron flowers vary in colour from lilac to purple. The style is yellowish, while the stigmata are bright red. Farmers divide saffron flowers into three branches. The red coloured stigmas of the flowers are harvested and used for spice. Farming requires the most variety of equipment, which plays a major role in the processing of agriculture.

How to grow saffron

Start by planting the saffron bulbs. In saffron cultivation, the soil is one of the primary requirements. It can grow in loamy, loamy or calcareous soils. Gravel soil is also favourable for the cultivation of saffron. The soil does not need to have a good moisture retention capacity. Because saffron requires moderate amounts of moisture during the growth and extreme dryness in summer.

Growing saffron bulbs

Plant saffron bulbs 3-4 inches deep, and 3-4 inches apart. The deep depth is important, as the bulbs will multiply by growing new bulbs above the old ones. If they’re planted to shallow there won’t be enough space for next year’s bulb to develop.
A few weeks after planting, the first thin grassy foliage will appear…

The first thin grassy foliage will appear

After the foliage is established, the saffron crocus bulbs will send up numerous pale purple flowers. It takes 5-8 weeks from planting for the first flowers to appear, but once they get started the flowers keep coming steadily for about 3 weeks. The prolific nature of the bulbs is important since each one only produces a few saffron threads.
The saffron plants will only be visible for a brief fall growing season, and after a few months, they’ll go dormant again until the following fall. There will be no trace of them whatsoever until that point.

It’s kind of impressive how many flowers a single bulb can put out

Propagating saffron bulbs

Saffron naturally multiplies beneath the soil, and new bulbs will develop atop the original bulb. They’ll keep growing up toward the surface until they’re just too shallow to stay healthy year-round. Every 4-6 years, dig up the saffron bulbs and break apart the older bulbs from the newly developed bulbs. Replant them all as you originally did, 3-4 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart. This will help avoid overcrowding and keep the saffron growing deep in the soil where it’s protected.

Propagating saffron bulbs

Harvesting Saffron

The first year after planting, the bulbs are still getting established and may not produce heavily. Generally, the 2nd and 3rd years crops are the heaviest, and then the bulbs are divided in the 4th year. In the 2nd and 3rd year, each bulb should produce roughly 6 to 9 flowers, each one with three precious saffron threads.
Generally, the whole flower is plucked in the field and then they’re brought indoors to delicately harvest the threads in a clean, dry environment. Harvest the flowers mid-morning, once the flowers are fully opened and any morning dew has dried.

Harvesting Saffron

Bring them indoors and then pluck out the saffron threads from each blossom. Saffron needs to be dried immediately to prevent spoilage, but since the threads are so small, they readily dry in a few hours in the sun. Place the fresh saffron threads in a warm, dry, well-ventilated sunny space for a few hours and they’ll naturally dry on their own.

Pluck out the saffron threads from each blossom

Once completely dry, store saffron in an airtight container.

Store saffron in an airtight container

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