Flowers, they’re everywhere at the moment, especially in our cocktails and on our food.
Marigolds are just one of the many edible flowers that are used for both flavour and decorations in food and drinks. They form an important part of Indian culture and so I thought I’d delve a little deeper into this beautiful flower and it’s endless uses.
Health & beauty
Marigold is known as ‘calendula’ in the world of health and beauty. Calendula oil is used to treat eczema, as well as to speed up the body’s healing process. It is also believed to reduce inflammation, and some also believe it can help reduce the appearance of spider veins, varicose veins, leg ulcers and chilblains.
Many natural oral care products contain calendula extracts due it’s antibacterial properties. Research also suggests that it may contain anti-cancer properties.
Put a large handful of fresh marigold leaves into warm sunflower oil (the oil must be warm, not hot) and allow to steep for around 5 hours, then strain out the marigold leaves using a muslin cloth.
Any seasoned gardener will tell you that if you want to naturally repel insects from your growing fruits and vegetables, simply plant marigolds in between each row, and their strong smell will stop insects from eating your hard earned produce.
How to dry marigold petals
Pick the flowers in the morning, making sure that they are dry – don’t wash the flowers either, as we want to remove moisture, not add to it!
Gently pull the petals out of the flower heads and put them onto kitchen paper. Allow them to air dry in a cool part of your house, making sure that the petals are not in direct sunlight. Once the petals have completely dried out, you can put them into kilner jars for later use. It’s really important to make sure they every petal is completely dry and crisp/fragile to the touch, as if some of the petals contain moist, you will find that the whole batch will go mouldy! The petals shrink quite considerably during the drying process, so not need to worry that you won’t have room to store them!
Alternatively you can dry the petals in a dehydrator, just make sure that the heat is set not higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep the dried petals for up to 12 months, and don’t forget to label your kilner jar and put the date on there too.
You can make marigold tea using your dried petals. Simply allow 3 teaspoons of dried petals per cup of boiling water. The petals do not have a very strong flavour and so are perfect for pairing with either mint or dried rose petals.
Fancy trying marigold cocktails this Summer? Anthropolgie have a delicious marigold, gin and champagne cocktail for you to try… get the full recipe here.
You may be interested to learn all about pulses and how we use them in Indian food? We created a free mini-course all about pulses as part of the United Nations ‘Year of the Pulse 2016’