Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Saffron: High-Value Low-Hassle

Saffron is usually known as the most expensive spice by weight, or a major ingredient in paella. But it is also used in Chinese herbal medicine. It's called Xi Hong Hua 西紅花(western red flower) or Zang Hong Hua 藏紅花 (Tibetan red flower), used when stronger effects are needed in place of the common safflower (紅花 Hong Hua).

I put in twenty bulbs last year (they were available at Lowes; i didn't even need to source them online) and would highly recommend growing saffron to anyone. Here are my reasons.

They are very cheerful. It's surprising to see flowers blooming in November. Lots of people commented on them. So it also works as a conversation starter.

They are very easy to grow. If you have them in the ground by September, they will flower on first year. They multiply readily. I harvest more than double amount of saffron this year.

Not to mention that they are a high-value crop. You would be expecting to pay $15-20 at the supermarket for a tiny envelope of it. The fresh saffron has a much stronger fragrance. I can't stop sniffing the saffron while they sat on my desk.

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