Daily Calendula

 

This summer I need to pick my Calendula flowers every day.  The Dyers’ Calendula that I planted blooms prolifically and I pinch the blooms as they open each midmorning to mid afternoon, depending on the day’s sunlight and whether Princess Peppermint, the American Guinea Hog that resides in the garden space, is preoccupied.  Otherwise she sniffles about my legs looking for handouts.  I have to distract her by throwing some quickly pulled weeds.

The flowers go into a bag in my freezer to await my next dye vat.  This summer I’ve done weekly dyeing and sometimes the Calendula are featured.

Or we throw them in some organic Olive oil and steep them for making some very therapeutic essential oil.  The Calendula is good for topical healing & maintenance as it is anti-inflammatory.  Also useful in tea for a antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, safe for animals and people.  And I add the tea and the oils to my homemade soap recipes.  On and on…turn the tea into ice cubes for a refreshing and healing additive to drinks in the summer.  It’s as easy as steeping flowers in hot water for 20 minutes or so.

Growing and caring for the plants is quite simple. The resin on my fingers as I strip the flower heads from the plants feels sticky and has a distinct summery sweet feel and smell.  I love it.

The plants I have in my garden are from seed I planted this spring as well as volunteers from last year’s plants.  I buy my seed from Fedco.

Calendula Essential Oil:

Dried Calendula flowers – should be crumbling between your fingers, dry so as not to impart moisture which might contribute to spoiling or mold in the infusion(the whole heads or simply the petals works)

Jar with a good fitting lid

Organic Olive Oil – does not have to be extra-virgin

Small pot with which to set the jar in

 

Fill your jar up to the top with petals and then pour olive oil over all.  Affix the lid and cap tightly.

The calendula soaks up some of the oil, that means when it is finished infusing, there will be less useable oil than you started with.

I set the jar with the tight lid into a small pot and pour water up to the sides to about 3/4 of the way.  I set the pot on the stove and LOW-simmer, not boil, for 20 minutes and then turn off the heat.  After this, I just let it cool to room temperature at it’s own pace.

Store the tightly capped jar in a cabinet and give it a tilt or shake every now and then(every couple of days) to distribute the essential oils.

When you’ve waited about a month, you can strain off the oil from the flowers with a tea strainer or cheesecloth. It can be a week more or less than a month, it is the strength of the infusion you want to check to make sure it is a potency you are happy with.
Strain it into a clean, fresh jar and squeeze as much of the oil out of the flowers as you can.
Put a pretty label on it so that you don’t forget and keep it in a dark place for storage. The oil is medicinal, healing and can be used straight on dry or damaged skin or as a component of salves, soaps and balms.