From a wet start, and a trip into our almost local town of Boussac, north of us, the sun shone and lit up a gloriously Autumnal day. The road back home has a sign right pointing to Toulx Sainte Croix, a high point, almost a mountain, where a few weeks ago we found a wonderful restaurant, frequented by locals, who pack the tables all weekend for the local speciality of moules frites – mussels, fondue and home-cut chips. Of this gastronomic delight another time.
En-route we drove past meadows, forests, tiny villages, crunching over horse chestnuts on the road, thousands of them. The air smelt of moss, aging leaves and bracken growing golden and russet.
Turning a tight bend in the road, a splash of lilac and purple caught my eye. We pulled over and found ourselves outside Pierre Jaumatres Saffron farm. A vehicle must have dropped the surplus flower petals on leaving and the entrance was strewn with them. Being the ever resourceful, I grabbed a bag and scooped handfuls from the damp grass.
Back home the saffron petals, somewhat soggy by now, were laid out on paper in trays and placed in the sun. Today, changing the paper, they are drying, and luckily we have full sun. The intention is to create potpourri, as we have a cupboard full of essential oils we can use.
Our area is so full of wild plants that can be dried, or used for dye. The saffron petals dyed the paper vivid jade green with flecks of turquoise and purple, and a few orange specks from the actual saffron stamens that remained – the ones you can use for flavouring and colouring.
If the petals dry sufficiently to create the potpourri, I will put another photo on the blog. If not, the poor old things go to the composter for a different lease of life!