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10 Benefits To Grow Calendula and 10 Recipes Of It

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Calendula, often referred to as “pot marigold,” is renowned not just for its vibrant blooms but also for its versatility in gardens and kitchens alike.

This delightful flower is more than just a pretty face; it offers a plethora of benefits that extend from medicinal uses to culinary delights.

In this article, we’ll explore ten compelling reasons to grow calendula in your garden, followed by ten creative recipes that showcase its unique flavor and health benefits.

10 Benefits of Growing Calendula

1. Medicinal Properties

Calendula is a treasure trove of medicinal benefits, primarily known for its healing abilities. It has been used historically to accelerate wound healing, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to increase blood flow to affected areas.

Additionally, calendula extracts are commonly used in creams and ointments to soothe eczema, diaper rash, and sunburns.

2. Easy to Grow

One of the greatest advantages of calendula is its ease of cultivation. This hardy annual can thrive in a range of soil types, though it prefers well-drained soil and can grow in full sun to partial shade.

Calendula seeds germinate quickly and the plants are resilient, making them a perfect choice for novice gardeners.

3. Pest Repellent

Growing calendula can benefit your entire garden by acting as a natural pest deterrent. The strong scent of calendula flowers is believed to repel certain unwanted insects, thereby protecting neighboring plants from pest infestations.

4. Attracts Beneficial Insects

While it deters pests, calendula attracts beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. These insects are crucial for the pollination of many other garden plants, enhancing the overall health and productivity of your garden.

5. Edible Flowers

Calendula flowers are not only beautiful but also edible. They have a slightly peppery taste and can be used to add color and flavor to salads, soups, and baked goods. The petals are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to any dish.

6. Aesthetic Appeal

With its bright orange and yellow flowers, calendula adds a splash of color to gardens, which can be particularly welcome during the gray, cooler months.

It can be grown in borders, containers, or as a part of a flowering annual bed, enhancing the beauty of any garden space.

7. Therapeutic Gardening

The act of growing calendula can be quite therapeutic. Gardening, in general, is a peaceful and stress-relieving activity, and nurturing calendula from seed to bloom provides a rewarding sense of accomplishment along with mental relaxation.

8. Companion Planting

Calendula is excellent for companion planting. It is known to help reduce nematode populations in the soil and can be planted among vegetables like tomatoes and peppers to improve their growth and resistance to pests.

9. Herbal Remedies

Beyond its immediate physical benefits, calendula can be dried and used to prepare a variety of herbal remedies.

These can include homemade skin care products like facial toners and body creams, which harness calendula’s skin-soothing properties.

10. Economic Benefits

For those with a green thumb looking to make a little extra money, calendula flowers and their derivatives (such as oils and dried petals) can be sold at local markets or online.

Their versatility and wide range of uses make them a popular choice among consumers interested in natural health and beauty products.

10 Recipes Using Calendula

Calendula is not just a garden favorite for its beauty and benefits; it also makes a fantastic addition to various dishes. Here are ten creative recipes that incorporate calendula, offering both flavor and health benefits.

1. Calendula Tea

Simple yet soothing, calendula tea is perfect for a calm evening. To make it, add dried calendula petals to a tea infuser and steep in boiling water for about 10 minutes. This herbal tea is known for its calming effects and can help reduce inflammation.

2. Calendula Salve for Skin Care

Calendula salve is excellent for the skin. Melt about half a cup of coconut oil and two tablespoons of beeswax pellets over low heat, then stir in a quarter cup of dried calendula petals.

Strain the mixture, pour into a container, and let it set. This salve can be used on dry skin, minor cuts, and burns.

3. Calendula Infused Oil

To make calendula infused oil, fill a jar with dried calendula petals, then cover completely with a carrier oil like almond or olive oil.

Seal the jar and let it sit in a sunny window for 3-4 weeks, shaking daily. Strain the oil and use it as a base for massage oils or skin care products.

4. Calendula Butter

Blend unsalted butter with finely chopped calendula petals and a pinch of salt to create calendula butter. It’s perfect for spreading on freshly baked bread or melting over steamed vegetables.

5. Calendula Soup

For a touch of color and flavor, sprinkle calendula petals over a freshly made vegetable soup. The petals add a slight peppery taste that complements a creamy soup base like pumpkin or potato.

6. Calendula Tincture

A calendula tincture can be made by soaking the flowers in a high-proof alcohol for several weeks. This tincture can be used diluted in water as a gargle for sore throats or as a skin astringent.

7. Calendula Smoothie

Add fresh or dried calendula petals to your next green smoothie. Combine with ingredients like spinach, mango, and banana for a nutritious and colorful boost.

8. Calendula Pesto

Substitute basil with calendula petals in your traditional pesto recipe. Blend calendula petals, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil for a unique twist on a classic sauce.

9. Calendula Ice Cream

Infuse your homemade vanilla ice cream with calendula petals for a delightful treat. Steep the petals in the milk as you heat it, then strain before mixing with the cream and sugar. This will give your ice cream a subtle floral flavor and a beautiful golden hue.

10. Calendula Garnish

Finally, use fresh calendula petals as a garnish on salads, cupcakes, or creamy desserts. The vibrant colors and a hint of peppery taste make calendula an excellent finishing touch for elegant dishes.

Calendula is a multifaceted plant that offers a wealth of benefits for both gardeners and cooks. From its healing properties and ease of growth to its culinary versatility, calendula stands out as a valuable addition to any garden or kitchen.

Whether you’re using its petals to beautify your dishes or harness its medicinal benefits, calendula is sure to enhance your well-being and your meals. Embrace this vibrant flower and discover the many ways it can enrich your life.

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