Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Saffron Crocus Time!

Saffron, Crocus sativus, is a fall blooming crocus, and we have the bulbs available now! If you can grow regular spring crocus then you can grow Saffron. Considered the world's costliest spice Saffron is certainly worthy of a little corner in your herb bed. Under the ground more than it is above, Saffron is always a surprise to spot in the garden. In the spring the leaves come up in a "grass like" manner and then in the fall the leaves again pop up along with the purple saffron blooms. It is the orange thread like stamens that are harvested to cook with. Saffron is used to flavor rice, pot pie, chicken. Many folks feel it only colors the rice so often Safflower is used in cooking as a substitute for saffron. While the flavor of saffron is delicate is does enhance your meal with both color and flavor so accept no substitutes! A plant of the Bible, Saffron is in the Song of Solomon and one of the dye plants for a coat of many colors. Easy to grow and fun to have. If you would like to try your hand at growing Saffron, we have them available now in the shop and by mail order, visit The Rosemary House, and scroll to the bottom of the page for ordering info.

Triple Berry Lemon Saffron Loaf
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. saffron
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
2 eggs
grated zest 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. sliced berries (strawberries, blueberries & raspberries)

Powder saffron threads with some of the sugar. Add saffron-sugar to utter first. Cream butter and sugars together and then add eggs, one at a time. Sift dry ingredients together. Mix lemon juice and zest with water and add, alternately with dry ingredients, to batter. Add the 2 c. berries to batter also just before baking. Do not over mix. Preheat oven to 350 deg. Pour batter into greased and floured bread pan . Bake about 45 minutes. until lightly browned. Cool. Slice and garnish with fresh berries. We hope you enjoy this moist tea bread with its delicate saffron flavor.

This recipe from A Bountiful Collection - The Second Helping, published in 1992 is reprinted with permission from the Penn Cumberland Garden Club.


Martha said...

Mine are blooming in the herb garden -- they are pretty as well as practical. I'll have to try your bread.

Marilyn Miller said...

I know I must have some saffron in the garden, but not sure there is enough. The recipe sounds very good.

Bernideen said...

I have been wanting to bake a saffron orange pound cake - I bought some at the grocery store - the world's most expensive spice indeed!