7 Uses for Marigolds

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I mentioned a while back that I was determined to get the most out of my marigolds–a huge mound of them occupying space I coveted for cold weather goodies like cabbage and broccoli.

I wasn’t kidding and have been giving that plant a workout. Here’s the current list of marigold uses:

1.  Marigold Insect Spray for leaf-cutters–I heard from my best friend in Pennsylvania that she has used a commercial version as a fly spray for horses, too.

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2. Marigold Pound Cake–I stirred the petals and a few chopped leaves into cake batter. More of a novelty than a flavoring, but sort of fun.

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3.  Salad–I add several sprigs of the leaves and the flower petals from a couple of blooms to liven up mixed green salads. Delicious.

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4. Marigold Tea–Ivory covered this one way back when. I’m drying some of the flowers to save for the dark days of winter. Sunshine in a cup!

5. Deep-Fried Marigolds–Oh yeah I DID! I made a loose batter of flour, water, salt and pepper, dipped and fried those puppies up! Yum!

6. Baked in a Pie–I’m tossing petals into savory pies (spinach, zucchini). A dainty dish to set before anybody.

7.  Chicken Snack–I read that feeding a moderate amount of flowers and leaves of marigold to your hens makes their egg yolks an even brighter, deeper orange. And they love it.

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How do you marigold?

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  1. I will have to try using calendulas in the same way – especially for the brighter yolks. Here in CT, the marigolds have long since past, but my calendulas have survived several light to moderate frosts. I use them in salads from time to time, but I really want to try them in baked goods now. I wonder if I dried petals and added them into the winter chicken feed if it would help with the yolk coloring… Oh, and I do believe that dried calendula petals are one of the few soap additives that actually retain their appearance when added when making soap.
    Of note, if anyone is looking for calendulas, seed savers has a fantastic mixed pack that gives you tons of different ones – my husband and I are big fans!

  2. We save all our marigolds for medicinal purposes. An infusion of dried marigold petals is great for cleaning and treating small cuts and other skin abrasions and relieving sunburn. Marigold tea can help with a sore throat, cramps and fever. In our large coop garden, we try to grow herbs and flowers that are medicinal as well as pretty or edible. Marigold is high on the list for that.

  3. This entry convinces me to grow Marigolds next year :-)
    I get your feed brought into my Livejournal Friendslist – I’ve really enjoyed reading it so much. Wish I had time to comment more.

  4. Oh great post! I have some marigolds in the plan for next year for a little companion planting. I purposely picked one that said it was edible as well…can’t way to try some of these out.

  5. I have heard of marigold tea, but was warned not to use it during pregnancy as it has been known to induce labor (not a good thing at 20 weeks, but perhaps good at 41 weeks :) ). You can make a paste from the petals and use it for diaper rash. My mom saved tons of petals for this purpose, but none of our 3 children ever had diaper rash, so I can’t speak personally to it’s effectiveness.

    I am interested in the insect spray and using it as a cleaning agent. Can anyone tell me how to make and use these concoctions?

  6. Hmmm… not sure I want to EAT something that’s also used as fly spray!

  7. Wow…I wouldn’t have guessed you could do all that with marigolds…I’ll definitely be growing even more next year!

  8. When I’ve had a garden, I’ve planted them pretty liberally amongst all the plants to help ward off bugs. My thumb is more brown than green so I can’t say if it helped or not.

    Mostly what I do with marigolds is carry around the seeds I collected several years ago planning to plant them this year I mean it….

    Does anyone know if goats can eat marigolds? (I’m not intending on feeding them marigolds but they’ll like to go exploring and taste everything.)

  9. I have to say that I love the fragrance of the Marigold….but I certainly don’t have any uses for them other than to plant for next year…never even considered there were any other uses….until I read your blog…I would have to sneak this into the food
    here….have a good w/e

  10. I work at an organic rose/herb/veggie/native plant nursery, and, actually, I’m not sure how wise it is to feed chickens, goats, or humans the marigolds in your pictures, which appear to be French or African marigolds, in the genus Tagetes. The edible/medicinal/makes-chicken-yolks-yellower marigold is the calendula, or pot marigold, Calendula officianalis, which can be found in medieval cookery books. The Tagetes marigolds are used in Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexican culture, are often used as companion plants for nightshades and do have some food-related uses, including bug repellent, but I wouldn’t eat them, and there is no known benefit to the chickens if they do either.

  11. Spinnerin–I’m glad you brought this up. There’s a good bit of confusion between calendula and tagetes, both commonly called marigold. What I have here is tagetes. It’s known as a culinary (flavoring and coloring) agent, especially in Asia and Africa, and its dried and powdered petals are said to be preferred over calendula in the Republic of Georgia. Medicinally, it contains carotenoids, such as lutein, known for promoting eye health among other possible benefits. Dried marigold petal meal from tagetes marigolds is used as a feed additive in the poultry industry to amp up the yellow color of egg yolks and chicken skin. Really a versatile plant.

  12. That is awesome, Tomato Lady! I’m glad to know that tagetes is used for what you said as well – I sit corrected! It’s nice to have it all out there, though; thanks for replying.

  13. Spinnerin–I would love to grow calendula. I tried growing it years ago with no success (too hot, I think). I may give it another go this spring.

  14. Calendula loves heat but needs moisture, too. If you plant the seeds *very* early in the spring – earlier than you think remotely reasonable – they’ll establish well before the drouth of summer hits!

    Good luck, and thanks for the useful notes about Tagetes.

  15. They are also known as the poor man’s saffron. It imparts the yellow color but not the flavor. (I have read…I wouldn’t know what saffron tastes like ’cause I’m a poor man!)

    Thankyou for all the wonderful information. I love learning the different properties of flowers and herbs. Imagine my guests’ surprise when I served a salad topped with nasturiums and violets!

    I also read:
    Use calendula powder to soothe skin irritations. Sprinkle about a fourth of a cup of powder on the bottom of your tub and fill with warm water. Stir with your hand until water turns greenish-yellow.

    Soak in the calendula bath to help soothe burns, bruises, and injured skin. Soak for no more than a half an hour at a time. Do not soak unclosed flesh wounds or wounds with stitches in them.

    Add about a tablespoon of calendula powder to a half cup of water. Use this to rinse your face after washing to help eliminate acne and improve your complexion in general.

    Use calendula powder tea to reduce fever and help eliminate colds. Wrap about an ounce of calendula powder in cheese cloth. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle, remove from heat and add powder. Allow tea to steep for about eight minutes. Drink eight ounces daily, sweetened as desired.

    NOT recommended for pregnant women or children. (No info on lactating.)

  16. Handful–Great information! I had a good book on edibles once but I can’t lay my hand on it. I remember something about eating cattail roots that sounded interesting. So much goes unnoticed beneath out feet. I can’t wait to try growing some calendula this Spring.

  17. Good Morning. I was just reading over your uses for marigolds (calendula) and I wanted to make another suggestion. The dried petals can be added to your homemade soap recipes to help soften the skin. You can add just the petals but I have also heard of people seeping the petals and using the water. I guess it would depend on your preference. I just thought I would share.

  18. Grace Thomas–Thank you. I have some calendula seeds and am eager to plant them and see if I can get them going. Can’t wait to try them in some recipes.

  19. Made some wine once out of marigolds, when I was about 16.

    Forgot about it, and found it about 2 years later.

    Strong stuff…

  20. Which marigolds? English (calendula – those look like calendula)? French? African?

    The English ones also make a good cleansing wash/poultice for wounds. I’d use the leaves mostly, but the petals won’t hurt -

  21. How did you make the tea infusion? From fresh or dried flower heads?

    Thanks for any tips.

  22. i am really interested with marigolds for my thesis in food science..upon reading your comments about its uses and applications..i think im gonna pursue it! i will plant more marigolds.