You can find the strangest things!
Nestled on the edge of the wood, on Saturday 6th October, I happened on this little beauty. Growing in a damp, shady area of the wood, this purple crocus had emerged along with 4 others. It's not the first year I have seen it but it is the first time that I really paid attention. It turns out that is a saffron crocus. I picked the stamens and truly the smell is pungent, aromatic and without doubt has that familiar exotic aroma of saffron.
Could I grow enough for our usage? Yes is the answer. Some 50/60 flowers will produce a teaspoon. It's a relatively easy grower in the UK. It needs a fair amount of sunlight although ours is growing in dappled shade. The flowers emerge in October time. A pair of tweezers are required to gently extract the dark red or orange filaments. Dry off in a dish for just 10 minutes and it's ready to use! I think this is one for the shopping list!