How do we grow, extract and store saffron crocus?

The saffron crocus belongs to the Iris family. It grows very well in areas where temperatures reach no more than 35-40Ċ in summer and up to 15-20Ċ in winter. This is what makes the Bulgarian climate ideal for its cultivation.

Crocus adapts easily to the soil in which it is planted. An important condition, however, is that it be loose so that the roots can grow deep and provide the necessary drainage to prevent rot and infection. It is best planted in fields with a southern slope, which ensures maximum exposure to the sun. Saffron crocus needs direct sunlight and does not grow in the shade.

For Bulgaria it is best to plant in late August-early September.

In fall, the saffron crocus begins to bloom. Harvesting takes place every day, early in the morning, before the flowers open up. This is a must because exposing the stigmas to direct sunlight spoils the quality of the saffron.

In the early dawn, the flowers are detached from the stem - entirely by hand - and collected for transport to a cool room, where later the red stigmas would be separated. The purple crocus is opened up, and the three stigmas removed. To achieve the best quality, only the bright red part of them is used, and the white and yellow parts are removed.

After picking and separating the saffron, it is time to dry it. This is done every day in a dehydrator for about 3 hours at a temperature of 45 ° C. In this way optimal drying is achieved and all valuable qualities of the product are preserved. Immediately after the process, the saffron is stored in glass jars with airtight closures, which are placed in a dark and dry place for 30 days. After this period we have a product ready for consumption. Saffron can be stored this way for a very long time without changing its quality and invaluable natural ingredients. Dried saffron has a more intense color and a stronger odor.

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