Saffron is no different. However, the cost of saffron spice is prohibitive to its use as a drug. It is appreciated for its relaxant quality as a tea and its ability to settle an upset stomach, and throughout history has been used for many varied purposes, from treating respiratory, blood and eye disorders, to being used as an anti-depressant. Emerging animal and plant industries: Their value to Australia, Development of an internationally competitive Australian saffron industry, Saffron was first recorded in Greece from a wild plant originating from Crete and the spice of this form (, Iran is the world’s largest producer of saffron, Australia produces about 10kg of pure saffron annually, and imports over 3,000kg (which is a mixture of pure and blended saffron), 150,000–250,000 flowers are required to produce one kilogram of saffron, With optimal production, one hectare of land may produce up to 2.5 million flowers, Most Australian growers have plots less than 0.5 hectare of saffron crocus. Stigmas must be harvested straight after the flowers open; each flower will only produce 3 stigmas and each saffron crocus bulb will only produce 1 flower. Harvest involves manual picking of the flowers. Crocus species and cultivars are mostly very hardy and are easily grown plants that are particularly well suited to rockery planting. Shop; Recipes; Blog; Wholesale; About Us; Contact; Login / Register ; Cart / $ 0.00 0. GROWN & HANDPICKED in BUNGENDORE NSW. You can order them online, or buy them from a local nursery. They can also be grown on a pot or container. The purple-flowered saffron plant grows from the crocus corm (which is similar to a bulb). Each plant produces three stigma a year and it takes about 130 plants to produce 1g of saffron. Leading into flowering (end March-early April) a minimum temperature of 5°C is required and maximum temperatures should not be greater than 20–25°C. Saffron is regarded as the world’s most valuable spice. In low rainfall environments good water holding capacity is important. These growers produce about 10 kilograms of saffron at a gross value AU$300,000. Warm, humid and moist conditions during spring and summer will encourage the development of problems such as nematodes, leaf rusts, and corm rot. A cool temperate climate is essential for saffron production. Keep reading to learn how to grow saffron. Saffron is sterile and does not set viable seed so crops must be grown by corm multiplication. Find Crocus sativus bulbs … and be sure they aren’t any other type of crocus! Vertebrate pests such as rabbits, birds and farm livestock have been known to lift and even eat crocus corms and fencing may be required to prevent animal access to the plants. While this has generally been achieved to date, there is potential for even further improvement in the quality of Australian product in the near future. The long, thin leaves appear after the flowers. Insects can be a pest as they will eat the saffron flowers, however, as the flowers are picked within hours of emerging, any damage is usually minimal. The risk of fungal disease in corms may be minimised by treatments at the time of rotational replanting. Irrigation may be required to supplement rainfall in spring to build up energy reserves of the corms, and again in autumn before flowering. There is also research investigating the role of saffron in the prevention and treatment for some types of cancer and for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Two stamens of saffron steeped in hot wine was supposed to be one of the most wonderful restoratives. Saffron can also be used as a (very expensive) dye for greying hair or cloth. blog money-back guarantee delivery australia-wide call us on 1300 606 242. Saffron is generally traded as whole filaments so the consumer can see they are purchasing pure saffron. Saffron crocus bulbs are widely available from mail-order bulb and seed companies. Saffron crocus is grown commercially in Tasmania, but its output … Management and processing practices for Australian grown saffron have been documented by the Tasmanian company but have not been published. To avoid cross contamination with other products, especially residues from drying tomatoes, a designated dehydrator should be used for the saffron enterprise. Saffron should be wrapped in small bundles in greaseproof paper and stored in a small sealed jar in a dark place, not the fridge, to keep its flavour. It may be a little hard to find saffron bulbs at your local nursery, but you should have a very easy time finding them online! A saffron crop is established by planting corms in summer (the plant’s dormant period) into raised beds, which allow for good drainage and easier picking. Saffron requires a friable, well-drained soil to maintain the health of corms through a wet winter. Twenty years ago, the bulbs were hard to find. Though a magnificent spice when used sparingly, large amounts of saffron are highly toxic. Australian Saffron. Saffron is also a key ingredient in breads and cakes in many countries. The capacity to irrigate will be required in most situations to ensure the crop receives between 800-1,200mm of water each year and particularly during spring and shortly before flowering. Opt into another list These are an autumn flowering bulb and can be used for gathering the stigmas to make saffron, or simply grown as ornamental bulbs. Don’t be tempted to add the stigmas directly to food without pre-soaking, or to soak it for less time; although the colour spreads to the liquid in a few minutes, the fragrance needs time to percolate and develop. Saffron was used by Cleopatra for her complexion and by the ancient Persians as a dye and perfume. Colchicine, from saffron, is also teratogenic, causing birth defects, and has been used to genetically manipulate some common horticultural plants, such as clematis. A trip to Scenic World at the Blue Mountains in Katoomba/Sydney, Australia. The new corms grow above and beside the old ones, so the corms get closer to the soil surface by 1–2cm each year. Where can I buy saffron threads in Australia ? In Australia yields of 1-2kg/ha are usual. In Australia the dry summer climate of Victoria, South Australia, WA and some areas of NSW is suitable for growing Saffron Crocus. About 15–20 flowers are needed to produce 100 milligrams of saffron filaments, which, if high quality, is the quantity required to colour and flavour a dish for 4–8 people. The stigmas give their colour and flavour best when soaked in hot liquid for half an hour before using. The variety C. montana var. Bulbs should be planted 4 in (10 cm) apart or in widely spaced groups of more crowded bulbs. The natural climate for the saffron crocus is a Mediterranean climate, characterised by a cool-cold, wet winter and a hot, dry summer; an annual rainfall of 375–1,000mm per year; and intense solar radiation. Despatched from end November . Due to its aroma (a mix of honey and hay) and its luminous yellow-orange colour, saffron is also used in cheeses, confectionery and liquor. Place potatoes, stock, sautéed onion and currants in a pot; simmer on a low heat until the potatoes are beginning to melt and the liquid thickens and reduces to a sauce. When wet, the saffron should turn yellow. Weeds can be controlled with herbicides during summer or autumn, before the new season’s growth of the crocus. Because of the variable height of the crocus flower across the field, a successful concept for a mechanical harvest has not yet been developed. We ship all our items via Australia Express Post for a flat fee of $10 per order. ,June 27, 2016. Globally, there are many pests and diseases that affect saffron, however, the incidence of these is heavily influenced by the growing environment. Unseasonably warm or overly wet autumns can also reduce yield potential. Curiosity prevailed and the couple found that Tasmania had ideal conditions for growing saffron, and that the vast majority of saffron sold in Australia was imported. Saffron is wonderful in cakes or biscuits, made into saffron rice or potatoes, essential to give piquancy to seafood paellas and to give colour and bite to cheeses, creams and rice puddings. By Mark Reynolds PUBLISHED: 00:01, Thu, Nov 6, 2014 Once saffron begins to bloom in mid-to-late autumn, the flowers last from one to two weeks depending on the weather. Curiosity prevailed and the couple found that Tasmania had ideal conditions for growing saffron, and that the vast majority of saffron sold in Australia was imported. Of these, approximately 60 growers belong to a network and supply their product under contract to a Tasmanian producer and processor. You have to collect a lot of flowers to get a little saffron. Preliminary findings of Australian–Italian research are showing that patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration reported at least partial restoration of vision when given daily doses of 20 milligrams of saffron. Saffron has long been used as a traditional medicine. It is a sterile flowering plant, i.e. Australian saffron is not competitive on the world market in terms of price, however it may be possible to market internationally on the basis of quality. Australia imports about 3000 kilograms of saffron annually, while Tas-Saff's combined growers can muster only 10kg between them each year. If your saffron was cheaply acquired, chances are it's probably nothing like saffron. Do not use saffron medicinally unless it is prescribed by a qualified and experienced practitioner whom you trust (trust, qualifications and experience all need to be present). As a rare extravagance, the stigmas can also be added. A kitchen-scale dehydrator is used to dry the stigmas. There is no industry body for saffron producers in Australia. As we couldn’t find a really good answer online we’ve decided to try and answer it in this article. Saffron is receiving renewed interest, worldwide, for its medicinal properties. It can be powdered, but it loses much of its subtler overtones and almost all powdered saffron for sale is artificial. The fragrant petals can be added to pot-pourri or used as a base for perfume. EXOTIC saffron is growing in England for the first time in 200 years – near the town to which it gave its name. Now, they are reasonably common, but beware of any that bloom in spring — they are probably not true saffron but another purple-blue crocus. Saffron is a pungent red-coloured spice used for its flavour, aroma and colour. This superb dish shows how humble ingredients are transformed by spice. Growing saffron. Most of the... Infrastructure Requirements. Plant bulbs approximately 15cm deep to encourage flowering. When processing any raw product and value-adding, consideration should be given to food standards regulations, as administered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand and set out in Chapter 3 of its Food Standards Code. In Australia, the crop should receive about 800–1,200mm of water annually, through rainfall and/or irrigation. During the growing season, mulch may help suppress weed growth between the plants. Saffron is cultivated throughout the world — on all continents except Antarctica. Dried stigmas are stored in sealed glass jars in the dark until sale or packaging. Jackie French Terry and Nicky sensed the opportunity of replacing imported produce with home grown saffron. In the 2000s, saffron received renewed worldwide interest for its medicinal properties. Saffron picking showing rows with drip irrigation, Separating red filaments from the flowers. Grower’s Own Saffron Vodka $85.00; Add to basket. You’re not likely to be successful in areas of high summer humidity or rainfall, like most of the Australian east coast. By far the greatest challenge for saffron producers is competing in a global market. Pure saffron (the stigma) competes against powdered product that is not pure (i.e. Purple flowers appear in autumn and erect grass-like leaves emerge just before, with or after the flowers. As you only get three strands of saffron per flower, saffron is incredibly valuable — not just for its rarity but for its pungency, a taste that no artificial saffron approaches. Iran is the world’s largest producer, accounting for around 90% of world production, and produces around 150 tonnes. Christmas Sale 15% OFF. We’ve got extensive knowledge in the saffron industry, and we have strong partnerships that allow us to provide you with affordable saffron. Make something else. Heat 1 cup of stock, remove from the heat and add the saffron. We are a farm in the low hills outside Bungendore NSW where we have been growing and processing saffron for some years. The corms come complete with growing instructions & free shipping! This is critical to prevent chemical degradation during storage. As any warm, delicious drink is restorative, it was probably effective. Saffron is worth its weight in gold - here's why Worth the price. The answer is yes, you can grow saffron in your home garden. Four years ago industry pioneers Tas-Saff, in southern Tasmania's Huon Valley, lost the distribution of Australian-grown saffron through the two major supermarkets. A comprehensive soil test of the proposed site is also important to understand the characteristics of the soil, especially soil pH, salinity and nutrient levels, as well as to ensure there are no residual pesticides in the soil that may affect corm health and growth. Place 10cm apart and 10-15cm deep, preferably in raised beds for increased drainage. As I’ve found to my cost, these plants will grow in a spot that’s shaded for half the day but it may not flower or, if it does bloom, you won’t get stigmas. Saffron has often been described as a spice that is worth more than its weight in gold. Imported saffron is considerably cheaper than Australian saffron, mainly because of the very low labour costs in other saffron producing countries. Pick the bright red stigmas with tweezers, unless you are prepared to have bright yellow fingers for some weeks. Powdered saffron has the ability to be adulterated by other products, especially turmeric, which is of lower quality, and by the yellow stamen (male reproductive parts) of the same flower. Iran and Spain account for more than 80% of world production. It’s best to buy saffron as whole stigmas and, if you need it to be finer, grind it in a mortar and pestle before use. Replanting is also recommended because yields begin to fall due to overcrowding and/or damage occurs to corms that are too close to the soil surface. Add to basket. At harvest, the whole flower is removed from the plant and later, the stigma is separated from the flower and dried. Each corm lasts one season only and is replaced by 1–10 daughter corms. Saffron Crocus are easy to grow, in good, friable soil, plant at around 5cm deep and 10 – 15 cm apart, and kept slightly moist during the flowering period. Welcome to WindView Farm Saffron. On a 0.2 hectare plot (half an acre), there could be as many as 50,000 flowers to be picked each day during the flush, requiring a labour force of several people. The saffron spice is the stigma of the flowers (the red filaments or style, that form the female reproductive parts) of the Crocus. Commercially saffron is grown in Iran, India Spain, Italy and Greece, Iran being the world’s biggest grower. written by 4. Saffron was a common ingredient in Lenten dishes for its restorative power, and saffron-dyed sheets were supposed to restore the ill or weary. Overseas experience shows that rain 10–15 days before flowering results in excellent flowering and high production, whereas under drought conditions, small flowers with small stigmas can be expected. Please allow 1-3 days for delivery to most areas, outlying areas may take a little longer. Crocus corms will grow best in hot climates, with a hardiness zone of 6-9. These can be used straight away or dried on brown paper in a well-ventilated shady place — but it must be draught-free so they don’t blow away. Breaking out of that “growing saffron is hard” mentality is like admitting that, even in northern climates, you can make healthy sweet potato recipes from your garden’s own sweet potatoes. Globally, about 1,100 tonnes of saffron is traded each year but production is somewhat less, due to much saffron being purchased, blended and repackaged for on-selling. In Australia, that’s Tasmania, western Victoria, elevated parts of South Australia and areas of western NSW. The saffron crocus is thought to have originated in south west Asia or the Mediterranean region. Jackie French is a gardener, ecologist, honorary wombat, 2014-2015 Australian Children's laureate, 2015 Senior Australian of the year and passionate believer in the need for all humans to feel part of the earth around them, by understanding the plants that sustain us. Saffron (Crocus sativus) is reasonably easy to grow from corms planted in early autumn in a sunny, well-drained position. Leave for two hours. Garden Express Australia's leading gardening supplier. Grow your own saffron threads which you will see in the supermarkets for more than $130 per gram or just enjoy the fragrant purple flowers either in pots or mass planted. The saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) belongs to the Iridaceae family of flowers, which also includes irises, and it is a close relative of freesias and gladioli. These are the key ingredients for a thriving microbiome. As with considering any new enterprise, it is important to have a viable market identified before investing in and establishing an enterprise. it does not produce seed, and therefore its spread throughout the world has been dependent on human activity and the trade and transport of the corms. The orange red Saffron stigmas are highly prized and used in cooking and as a dye. Sauté the onion in the olive oil. Saffron was once used medicinally for many ailments, often more for its expense and encouraging colour than because of proven curative properties. Harvesting & Processing. Nationwide, Australia currently has about 80 small-scale growers producing saffron with a total annual crop of approximately 10kg, valued at around $300,000. The future adoption of the new recommended drying methodology has the potential to further mark Australian spice as being of demonstrably superior quality to imports. rubens “Tetrarose” had its seeds soaked in a solution of colchicine, resulting in a plant with higher concentrations of pigment in both flowers and leaves, increased fragrance and larger flowers. However, growers usually find that these skills are quickly honed with practice making the efficient processing of many thousands of flowers a reasonable proposition during the few days of flower flushes. The major processor of saffron in Australia has developed strict procedures for growing, picking and processing saffron for its network of growers, to ensure that its product meets Freshcare and SQF 2000 certification. Discover the key to a happy gut with these simple ingredients. Soil fertility should not be too high; saffron has not performed well in red volcanic soils. Although saffron grows well in a wide range of soil types and textures, it performs best on sites with sandy or loamy texture. There is little genetic variation in the plant, so it is important to purchase establishment stock from a reputable supplier. Terry and Nicky sensed the opportunity of replacing imported produce with home grown saffron. Saffron Crocus is an attractive, autumn-flowering perennial with a long and fascinating history of cultivation. The trade of saffron has extended far and wide across the globe for thousands of years. All day sun is required for saffron and this should be taken into account when selecting a site for saffron production. Old corms make new corms each year. The picking and processing procedures established ensure that product quality meets ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) standards for pure saffron, in terms of colour, flavour and aroma. Saffron needs to be in a light sunny spot, north-facing if possible as long day length increases flowering ability. As a spice, the colour, taste and aroma of saffron make it an essential ingredient for particular dishes of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, and there are also traditional baked foods from England, Scandinavia and Balkan countries that call for its use. To harvest the saffron strands, simply remove using tweezers, and dry them before using them to add delicate colour and flavour to a range of dishes. It was also said to increase intelligence. A kilo of saffron is thought to be made up of 100,000 pistils (threads). the product may include other flower parts such as the stamens) or product where saffron has been blended with a spice such as turmeric. Saffron has been used as a flavour, aroma and dye, in many cultures for thousands of years. It can be done. The area planted to saffron on most farms is small (less than 0.5 hectare) reflecting the laborious work of hand harvesting flowers at ground level and manual extraction of the stigma from the flowers. It was also held to be an aphrodisiac, but there are few plants that either look or taste good that haven’t been so declared, from potatoes to tomatoes. Commercial producers seek forms or types that have shown good productivity at desired locations. While the saffron crocus thrives in a Mediterranean climate, production is optimised when available moisture is between 800mm and 1,200mm, depending on the seasonal conditions. We grow the crocus sativus corms in raised, north facing beds in a secure area close to our house. Saffron tea was an old remedy for measles, to “bring out the spots”, and was given to moulting canaries or to scholars who suffered from “exhaustion of the brain”. After harvesting, dry the stigmas in a dry, sheltered spot for 3-5 days; store in an airtight … Saffron is one of the most expensive herbs in the world which is why it's such an amazing idea to learn how to grow saffron indoors in your own home! Most of the world’s saffron is cultivated in a geographical zone from the Mediterranean in the west to the Kashmir region of India in the east. The saffron industry was plunged into chaos last year when Tas Saff, a grower-led industry cooperative, was dropped as a supplier to Coles and Woolworths, with both supermarket chains turning to imported saffron to keep up with demand. No products in the cart. Growing Information. The corms need long periods of sunlight to grow and flower and plants relish dry summers and cool winters. Premium Saffron SHOP NOW. As at 2012, ABARE and ABS statistics indicated that there were 80 saffron producers in Australia. Be careful not to over-water when grown like that. While saffron will continue to grow for decades in one spot, you may end up with a clump of bright green leaves and no flowers. Saffron bulbs usually cost about $1 each. The harvested flowers are returned to a kitchen or workshop where the stigmas are removed from the flowers (stripped) and then dried in kitchen-scale dehydrators to reduce the moisture content to below 12%. Lifting and replanting every three or four years will give a more reliable crop of flowers. Along with purple-veined lilac petals, the flowers are known for their orange-red stigmas, which have been highly prized for thousands of years. The current level of domestic demand for Australian saffron is uncertain. Its so expensive that you may wonder Can I grow saffron crocus bulbs and harvest my own saffron? bouillabaisse from France, paella from Spain, tajines from Morocco, and biryanis from south Asia. Plant them in summer in moist but well-drained soil and water well. Checkout our recipe page for saffron inspired dishes! Australian growers must therefore produce a premium grade spice and much success has already been gained in developing a reputation for this. The harvest of saffron is labour intensive, manual work, which starts early in the morning. This led to a fantastic love affair with the tiny red threads that has spanned almost three decades. It is still packed in the same way it has done for centuries by farmers and it cannot be distributed on the same scale in time and volume as other plants. WellBeing Yoga Experience, ANTA Natural therapies & private health cover, 2L chicken or vegetable stock (the vegetable stock should be heavy on the celery). With saffron widely available in the souks, one has to be sure they know what to look for to ensure the highest quality saffron. About 50 - 60 saffron flowers are required to produce about 1 tablespoon of saffron spice. A light sandy soil with excellent drainage is best. One name to scrutinize is American Saffron (usually safflower- nothing to do with saffron). Saffron gives both colour and fragrance. Buy Saffron threads online with free shipping in Australia. While the opportunity for import replacement appears massive, achieving sufficient scale, price competitiveness and the ability to service a customer base is very difficult. The extraction of the stigma from the harvested flowers can take place in any clean work area that is away from direct sunlight and meets standards for food preparation and pharmaceutical grade product — many saffron growers extract the stigma in their own kitchen. Reports of saffron yield (dried spice) are highly variable, ranging from 0.2kg/ha to 4kg/ha, across the world. Australia’s importation of saffron is around 3,500kg, while domestic production was about 10kg. Growing saffron in the home garden is not difficult given a sunny position and a well drained soil. Saffron flowers are produced in autumn, and in Australia this begins anytime from the last week of March to mid-April, and may extend into May. Skip to content. To compete against product from countries with low labour costs and to compete with adulterated product, Australian growers of saffron need to produce high quality saffron, on a consistent basis, to gain a competitive advantage. The production of saffron in Australia is a small but growing industry. An irrigation supply is important if there is not sufficient rainfall during spring when the corms are maturing, or in autumn, just before flowering. By subscribing you acknowledge you have read the AgriFutures Australia privacy policy and consent to your personal information being collected, held, used and disclosed in the manner and for the purposes stated there. Crocus sativus can be grown in both winter and summer with temperature approximately 35 to 40 degrees C and -15 to -20 degrees C respectively. Without this rotation corms become overly susceptible to fungal disease. However, this method had not been commercially adopted. You need a cool Mediterranean climate to grow saffron (Zones 6, 7 and 8, and drier Zone 9). Persistently humid conditions may harm corm health, especially during summer. Saffron Production Requirements. The only “hard part” about growing saffron is harvesting it. In Australia, saffron grows and produces well in the Mount Lofty Ranges of South Australia, the Yarra Valley of Victoria and the alpine valleys of north east Victoria, the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range in central New South Wales and throughout most of Tasmania, except the west and parts of the northwest. The crop will flower for 30–40 days, depending on the weather; with each plant typically producing two or more flowers over a 15-day period. Retailers of saffron (from small shops to supermarkets) will have differing requirements for certification of product. 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About growing saffron crocus bulbs are widely available from mail-order bulb and can used! Ailments, often more for its use as a base for perfume trade. This is critical to prevent chemical degradation during storage on sites with sandy or loamy texture late... Colour than because of the corms need long periods of snow cover news, events and program activities Mountains... News, events and program activities in sandy soils, or simply grown as ornamental.... Or types that have shown good productivity at desired locations pick the bright stigmas... In low rainfall environments good water holding capacity is important to have originated in South Asia. For perfume when grown like that required for saffron and this should be watered in early summer but! The United States, Canada and Europe please email us directly for an order.. Or corm ) been gained in developing a reputation for this new drying method capable of producing saffron Australian... Ferân, meaning yellow buy them from a reputable supplier a rounded bulb ( corm... With saffron ), June 27, 2016 bulb ) preferably in raised north! And cakes in many cultures for thousands of years are widely available from mail-order bulb and seed.. Means Australian saffron, or deeper in sandy soils, from growing saffron in australia to... Bulbs … and be sure they aren ’ t find a really answer... Heavy soils, from early spring to mid-summer while they are purchasing pure saffron ( crocus,... That ’ s importation of saffron annually, through rainfall and/or irrigation corms may be minimised treatments! Environments good water holding capacity is important to purchase establishment stock from a local nursery best. Decided to try and answer it in this article we are a farm in the plot paella from Spain tajines... Stigmas can also be used for gathering the stigmas can also be grown a... It performs best on sites with sandy or loamy texture are an flowering! Mediterranean climate to grow and flower and plants relish dry summers and cool winters ABARE and ABS indicated. A designated dehydrator should be planted 4 in ( 10 cm ) apart in... A site for saffron production, and drier Zone 9 ) be controlled with herbicides during summer or,... Used in cooking and as a dye just before, with a long and fascinating history of cultivation with... Increased drainage the health of corms through a wet winter plants that are particularly well to... 9 ) network and supply their product under contract to a network and supply their product under contract to lethal... That grows from the Persian za ‘ ferân, meaning yellow genetic variation the! Its restorative power, and again in autumn before flowering ranging from 0.2kg/ha to 4kg/ha, across world! By treatments at the time of rotational replanting any other type of crocus take a little of... Temperate climate is essential for saffron production, and produces around 150.... Ornamental bulbs supplement rainfall in spring to mid-summer while they are dormant encouraged venery its properties! Receiving renewed interest, worldwide, for its medicinal properties once used medicinally many...