Erfurter Orangefarbige is a variety of calendula bred specifically for its medicinal virtues. Although the whole plant has long been used as a culinary and medicinal herb, the bright orange flowers alone are recommended for kitchen use today, since the leaves are very bitter. The flowers are mild tasting and slightly sweet, and can be used both in savoury and sweet dishes – the nickname ‘pot marigold’ comes from its popular use in the soup pot. When dried, its petals, which have been called ‘poor man’s saffron’, can be used to create a natural dye or, funnily enough, in chicken feed to make egg yolks extra vibrant!
HOW TO GROW
TIMING Germination7-15 days Harvesting40-60 days
SPACING When sowing3-5 cm; Depth 1 cm When thinning3-5 cm
GROWING SunligthFull sun SoilWell-drained, light and moist soil WateringRegular, moderate watering FeedingLight feeder
CARING Expert tipCalendula is adaptable and does not require a lot of maintenance, making it ideal for container gardens. Just beware, it will also re-seed readily and easily, so keep an eye on it if you don’t want a calendula jungle on your balcony!
SUPPORTING Pollinators Attracts bees, butterflies and ladybirds. Pests Helpful for deterring many insects.
HOW TO EAT
HARVESTING Choose fresh petals to garnish dishes or for use in healing herbal teas. If you want to store the flowers, wait for the heads to dry up and turn inward. Then, they can be harvested and dried easily.
EATING Medicinal propertiesThere is no better herb for treating irritated skin, minor wounds and super-itchy insect bites. How to eatUse fresh or dried petals to flavour and colour soups. Add them to cheeses and butters, or bake them into cakes and breads. Garnish fresh salads or egg-based dishes with the striking flowers. Basically, wherever you need extra taste and colour, Orange Calendula is the answer!