The saffron crocus is blooming -- I almost always forget about it and am pleasantly surprised when it appears. I have one small clump this year -- I think there were originally three bulbs that I planted maybe fifteen years ago...
Saffron is said to be the most expensive spice -- and no wonder. See those bright red-orange stigmas -- three in each blossom? It would take 50,000 to 75,000 flowers to produce a pound of dry saffron. Of course no one buys a pound at retail. At retail, saffron sells in tiny amounts -- .06 ounce for $16.26 -- which would equal (if Wikipedia is to be trusted) $4,336 per pound. But if you're willing to spring for the entire pound, the price plummets to a mere $2,000 a pound, a veritable bargain!
These pale leafless apparitions below are a puzzlement. I don't think I've ever seen them before and I wonder if they are perhaps new saffron from divisions of an old bulb or what. If any of you know , please tell me. (I don't want to get all excited at the thought of more saffron if these are something else...)
In any event, here's the saffron harvest for 2013 -- our quality control officer is performing a meticulous inspection.