In honor of the last day of the October month, we’re spotlighting the month’s flower: the Calendula/Marigold!
A member of the marigold family, calendula was valued historically for its medicinal and culinary uses. An ancient beverage made from a mixture of calendula blossoms in wine was said to soothe indigestion. Calendula petals were used in ointments that cured skin irritations, jaundice, sore eyes, and toothaches.
Early Christians called calendula “Mary’s Gold,” and placed it by the statues of the Virgin Mary. The most sacred flower of ancient India, calendula stems and flower heads were strung into garlands and placed around the necks of holy statues.
But they are so much more than a pretty face. Marigolds are edible flowers that can be added to foods to change the taste. Their taste resembles that of saffron and can range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. The Romans used calendula mixed with vinegar to season their meat and salad dishes. Use them in soups, pasta, rice dishes, herb butters, and salads.