Slightly sweet and earthy, calendula flowers have a flavor that is subtle, yet distinctive. 

edible flowers calendulaCalendula has a long and interesting history of use from both a culinary and a medicinal perspective.

In the kitchen, calendula adds a subtle earthy sweetness, that some have described as zesty, to various dishes, along with a splash of color. It can be added to dishes, both, sweet and savory, raw or cooked. When cooked with foods the calendula imparts a lovely yellow color similar to saffron, in fact, in some instances, calendula, also known as poor man’s saffron, is used as a substitute for saffron. It can be used in egg dishes to brighten up the yolk color and also in baking to again, give an added dimension of flavor with a lovely yellow tone. The flowers can be added to salads or used as an edible garnish to liven up a variety of dishes.

calendulacookiesFrom a medicinal perspective, Calendula is a powerhouse. It is packed with antioxidants and bioflavonoids that contribute to overall health in a delightfully aesthetically pleasing way. It is well known for its skin reparative qualities, making it a fantastic wound healer and intervention for rashes, eczema, psoriasis and any number of skin irritations and injuries. It is antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory; making it a great option for decreasing systemic and local inflammation, as well as preventing free radical damage to tissue.  It can be consumed as a tea for stomach upsets and menstrual discomforts or applied topically as an ointment, salve, or lotion to help with skin issues.

Edible flowers don’t often make their way into the typical, daily food repertoire but the nutrient density they provide coupled with the aesthetic pleasure can’t be beat. I say get your hands on some edible deliciousness from the garden or fresh herb section of your local market and delight your palate.