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When and how often is saffron harvested?

When and how often is saffron harvested?

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When and how often is saffron harvested?

Saffron is the most valuable good in the world. Surprisingly, it is even pricier than gold by weight. That’s why many people around the world refer to it as the Red Gold. Saffron, in addition to being rare and expensive, has many nutrient properties and is used in the pharmaceutical industry. This means that it not only gives your foods a unique signature but also is good for your health and well-being.

Therefore, nowadays, people are looking for ways to plant this precious spice for personal use or trading in the market. If you are interested in doing so, the first question you should ask before taking any action is how often does saffron bloom? Will it be worth your time and energy? And more importantly, can you harvest it in any condition or not?

If you are struggling with the same questions, keep on reading to find out about saffron harvesting time and what it needs to grow.

What exactly is saffron?

Saffron harvesting time
Saffron harvesting time

 

Saffron or crocus sativus is, in fact, some kind of red thread growing from a purple flower. When saffron harvesting time comes once a year, these flowers bloom for a limited period of time, which are then manually harvested. Each flower contains three red stigmas (saffron) that farmers, again manually, pull out one by one and then dry to use. In some cultures, they use the flowers to make an aromatic and tasty tea while in others, only the strands are used for consumption.

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How do we use saffron?

After saffron harvesting time comes to an end, farmers or marketers export them around the world for use. Now, as we mentioned before, each country or culture may use saffron for different purposes. For example, in Iran, people use saffron in all kinds of foods, teas, cakes, and so on. This red-coloured gold is somewhat an integral part of Iranian culture and tradition.

In addition to those, in some cultures, you can see a signature of saffron as a fragrance in perfumes or as a dye for clothes. Generally, it is a flavouring agent that gives your food a unique taste, aroma, and colour.

Where does saffron grow best?

Saffron harvesting time
Saffron harvesting time

 

Just like other types of plants, saffron needs a special condition to grow and bloom. However, if you provide all the requirements for saffron to grow, such as soil, weather, proper irrigation, and so on, still many unexpected events can prevent it.

For example, unforeseen rainfall or pollutant can damage the bulbs and prevent them from growing properly. Nevertheless, saffron best thrives in dry and warm climates. The bulbs cannot tolerate below 0 degrees and above 20 degrees temperatures. That’s why farmers generally plant the corms in the middle of summer when the weather is in perfect condition for them.

Also, saffron corms don’t need constant irrigation as they grow best in semi-dry, sandy soils. So, rainfed irrigation is usually enough to grow the best quality saffron. That’s why saffron grows and flourishes best in countries such as India, Italy, Spain, Iran, and Greece.

Check out our article on the How Long Does Saffron Take To Lighten Skin?

saffron harvested

When is the best saffron harvesting time?

The saffron harvesting time and season are different according to the climatic conditions. Generally, when the soil temperature reaches 8 degrees and about two weeks after the first irrigation, saffron crocuses flourish. In addition to that, the weather must reach the right temperature for harvesting, which varies in different regions and strongly depends on the ground conditions.

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In most countries, including Iran, saffron is harvested in the fall. It might be in mid or late fall depending on the weather and irrigation time. This is because of the nature of saffron which prefers semi-cool temperatures to grow and bloom. However, the flower, crocus, only opens up in the early morning and closes up when the sun rises. Therefore, farmers merely have about 3 hours in the morning to collect these stunning purple flowers.

In which months do farmers harvest saffron?

Saffron harvesting time
Saffron harvesting time

 

This aromatic spice can be harvested in autumn, winter, or spring depending on the climate. If your country has mild winters and the temperature won’t fall below 1 degree, it’s more likely to harvest better quality saffron in winter compared to other seasons.

Nevertheless, in most countries, such as Iran, Spain, and India saffron is harvested from October to November.

Check out our article on the How To Use Saffron For Skin Whitening?

In which season does saffron bloom?

The exact saffron harvesting time depends on when you plant the seeds. It generally takes around 4 to 10 weeks before the flowers flourish. As we mentioned earlier, the blooming time may change based on the climate, irrigation time, and type of soil. Before blooming, you’ll only see a landscape of green and grass-like leaves. But after that, the whole ground will be filled with eye-catching purple flowers.

Considering all these, the blooming usually happens in the second half of the fall. From then, farmers only have about 3 weeks to harvest and collect the flowers and separate their stigmas.

See also  How to Grow Saffron in a Greenhouse: A Complete Guide

How often is saffron harvested?

Saffron harvesting time
Saffron harvesting time

 

Generally, the saffron bulbs, also known as corms, are planted 7 cm deep down in the ground, with about 10 cm distance between each bulb. After planting, they may take about a year or several weeks to bloom.

Usually, by planting these bulbs once, saffron can be harvested for 7 to 10 years. Because by taking care of them in the right climate and keeping them in proper soil, you can have quality saffron for a long time.

However, after each bloom, the bulb dies and won’t flourish the next year. Although that’s not the end of saffron harvesting time. When the mother bulb dies, it multiplies into several daughter bulbs which take the responsibility for the next year’s display. Therefore, the blooming happens once a year for three weeks and each year the crop becomes bigger than the previous year.

Although the multiplying process merely depends on soil condition. If the soil is wet or it hasn’t been properly drained, the crop won’t have good quality and the corms cannot reproduce saffron in the following year.

How much saffron is harvested each year?

Saffron harvesting time
Saffron harvesting time

 

After several months of planting, only the bulbs that had suitable weight and sufficient nutrition will bloom. An ideal amount of crops when saffron harvesting time comes, are about 8 kilograms per hectare. It means that if you plant about 10 tons of saffron corms in each hectare, you’ll get around 8 kilos of stigmas.

What happens when saffron blooms?

Saffron can grow and bloom almost anywhere in the world if you provide the necessary condition. But, in some countries where the weather and soil are proper, it is planted in large quantities. And when the saffron harvesting time comes, sometimes an entire village work together tirelessly for about 25 days to harvest all flowers carefully. The process is hard and labor-intensive which is why the spice is the most expensive food property in the whole world.

 

Sources:

https://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/how-to-harvest-saffron-crocus

https://www.highcountrygardens.com/flower-bulbs/crocus-flower-bulbs/growing-saffron-crocus

https://www.dutchgrown.com/blogs/the-dutchgrown-blog/saffron-harvesting

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