My Calendula (Pot Marigold) plants are in full bloom now, and as well as making my garden look great, I’ve been using the petals in my food. The bright orange colour looks amazing, and they have a slightly tangy flavour.
Pick the flower heads off when they are fully open, and then pull off the petals. You will probably want to rinse them or give them a good shake to remove any blackfly (to which the plant is prone.) Regularly taking off the blooms in this way also ensures that the plants keep on producing more flowers.
You can use the petals as a substitute for saffron in any recipe. The petals are also excellent sprinkled onto a leafy salad. Cook them with rice or add to cottage cheese for colour. Or sprinkle some into sauces, soups and casseroles. You can also make calendula tea by steeping the petals in boiling water.
Energetics of Calendula:
Calendula flower is cooling and detoxifying. Taken internally, it clears heat and toxins, reduces inflammation and infection and stimulates Qi and Blood flow. The infusion (tea) drunk hot, is effective at reducing a fever, and is especially appropriate when the fever is accompanied by inflammation. The tea is also used to stop bleeding, and can benefit ulcers.
Calendula is also used externally for its excellent antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and tissue-healing properties (look out for a post on this aspect coming soon…)
CAUTION: Calendula is a uterine stimulant, and should not be used by pregnant women without expert guidance.