One of the most versatile herbs, calendula is popular as a colorful garden flower and for its use in cosmetic and culinary recipes.
This hardy annual seems to flower continuously. Persians and Greeks garnished and flavored food with it golden petals. In Europe ithas long been used to flavor soups and stews and to color butter and cheese.
Add to rice for a impart a pretty yellow color and give a light tangy flavor to the rice. Us in fish, meat soups, soft cheese, yogurt, butter, omelettes, milk dishes, cakes and sweet breads. Add 1 teaspoon petals to fish and venison. Garnish meat platters, paté and fruit salads.
The leaves may be sprinkled in salads and stews.
Cultivation of Calendula / Marigold
Site: Grow Calendula in a fine loam in a sunny area. Calendula like rich, well drained soil, but are very tolerant of average to slightly poor soils. Improving your soil quality will produce much healthier plants and flowers, so add plenty of compost. Add a general purpose fertilizer once a month.
Propagation: Calendula are grown from seeds. Sow seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/4" of garden soil. They germinate easily and will grow quickly, producing their first of a continual display of blooms by mid-summer.
Select a location in your garden where they can grow undisturbed for years and years, as these flowers will drop their seeds and reseed your flowerbed each year. Space plants 15" apart.
Growing: Once your Calendula is established, it should grow well, even if left unattended. Water during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add mulch around the plants to keep weeds down.
Early in the summer, the plants will begin to produce large flowers on long stems and will continue to produce flowers even after the first light frost.
Calendula is a somewhat hardy. It will not be harmed by a light frost either in the spring or fall. It will succumb to heavy frosts or freezes though.
Harvesting: As you pick the flowers for indoor arrangements, look carefully on the stem and the undersides of the leaves for aphids. Pick dead blooms to keep the plants neat looking and to encourage new blooms. Pick flowers when open and leaves when young.
Culinary Uses: Use petals lavishly to give saffron color and a light tangy flavor (not saffron flavor) to rice, fish and meat soups, soft cheese, yogurt, butter, omelets, milk dishes, cakes and sweet breads. Add 1 teaspoon petals to fish and venison. Garnish meat platters, pate and fruit salad.