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Safflower False Saffron Carthamus Tinctorius
Big packet of more than 50+ home grown seeds!
We originally bought this one a decade ago from China as “Saffron” and I was quite disappointed to find out it wasn’t true “Saffron”.
The dodgy seller had a picture of the purple flowered bulb and everything, so I was quite disappointed when this fella came up instead……….
It was only after I did a bit of research that I realized its the Safflower plant, and its quite useful in its own right!
The flower petals are used the same way as traditional “saffron”, and the seeds are eaten as a snack just like sunflowers, but heaps easier to pop our of the shell intact.
The seeds are pressed for oil on a massive scale, which is the basis for everything from margarine’s, makeups, and most “vegetable oil” blends, and processed foods.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine for pain, to increase circulation, and to reduce bruising and swelling of impact injuries.
The dried flowers are included in various herbal remedies for menstrual pain and minor physical trauma and in India, the flowers are used for their laxative and diaphoretic properties, measles, fevers and eruptive skin conditions.
You will see them dried in the just about any Asian grocery store. It was known as “Carthamine” in the 19th Century and used as a dye of ancient Egyptian textiles the 12th dynasty, and has also been identified in dyes and garlands in the tomb of the pharaoh “Tutankhamen”.
About 600,000 tons of it are grown commercially in more than sixty countries worldwide each year and the number is rising due to the drought tolerance of the plant, and rising temperatures. Really cool looking flower, and with all those spikes its almost critter proof!
Easy to harvest the petals, just pull them out and leave them in a bowl to dry for a day or two.
The seeds are even easier to harvest and clean. Just cut off the pods when the plant is nearly dry. Put them in a bucket or large saucepan with a lid, and a stone about as big as a golf ball(actually a golf ball should work good too!).
Put the lid on and shake like buggery.
The pods pop open, and the seeds are heaviest, sinking to the bottom along with the stone. Pour off the leaves, pods and spines chuck them in the compost, or use as a critter repellent mulch. It only lasts about 4-6months but in that time not much is gonna want to dig (or crap in that part of your garden.)
Totally biodegrades and is gone in 6months, sooner if it gets the odd water or a bit of compost added to it.
Great for a snack. Just chuck a handful in your pocket and you can munch them all day. Meant to be an appetite suppressant too, but unfortunately I haven’t noted any difference?
Grown by us organically, no nasties, no chems, no problems!!!