How to Dry Saffron

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Dry saffron stigmas after harvesting saffron.
Dry saffron stigmas after harvesting saffron. (Image: meadow-saffron violet flower image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com)

Due to a painstaking harvest process and the high numbers of blossoms required to net even a small amount of saffron, saffron may be one of the world’s most expensive spices in the world. After harvesting the saffron blossoms, remove the stigmas from the blossoms. The stigmas are the only portion of the flower necessary for producing saffron and after a drying period, they are ready to crush into a fine powder.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow tray
  • Paper towels
  • Saffron blossoms
  • Thin fabric sheet

Line the shallow tray with a double layer of paper towels.

Use your fingers to separate each single stigma gently from the center of each blossom. Discard the blossoms.

Place each stigma onto the lined shallow tray, making sure the stigmas do not touch each other on the tray.

Continue working until you separate all the stigmas from the blossoms and space each stigma properly onto the shallow tray.

Cover the stigmas with the thin fabric sheet.

Place the covered tray in a warm and dry location to dry the saffron. Allow the saffron to dry for up to one week.

Check the saffron after three or four days. The saffron stigmas are sufficiently dry when they feel dry and brittle when you gently touch them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Collect the saffron blossoms in the late summer or early autumn. Cut the blossoms from the stems when the blossoms are at their peak of freshness and when the blossoms are dry to the touch (no dew present on the petals).
  • Store the dried stigmas in a sealed container.

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