Calendula officinalis

Herb of the Year 2008

To receive this honored title it has to be outstanding in at least two of the three major categories: medicinal, culinary, or decorative. Calendula’s medicinal history is busy which continues in present times. The petals can be used in the bath, ointments and salves where it contributes anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties which help with external sores, cuts, bruises, burns and rashes.

Calendula is an annual which grows easily from seed. You plant it directly where you want it to grow after the last frost, when soil is warm. They take about a week to germinate and should be thinned to 6 – 12” apart. And of course, you can buy the plants at almost any nursery. It likes the cooler weather and can survive light frosts. It blooms almost continually from early summer to late fall, especially if you keep the spent flowers picked off. It will add beauty as its multiple golden blossoms grace your garden and flavor your cooking. It can be used in potatoes, rice (called poor mans saffron), cakes, breads, biscuits, butters, cheese, custard, soups, stews, poultry, salads, beverages and any number of garnishes – let your imagination go wild.

**If you are susceptible to an allergic reaction to ragweed or any daisy-like blooms, be cautious when using calendula and consult your health practitioner before using the herb.**


8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons of your favorite dried herbs (I use my Mix for Herbed Cheese)
enough fresh or dried Calendula flower petals to cover the outside of your cheese ball
Mix cream cheese and herbs together. Divide mixture in half and roll each half into a ball. Put Calendula flower petals on plastic wrap or waxed paper. Roll cheese balls in the petals until coated. Put into dish and serve with your favorite crackers.


3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups hot chicken stock
1 small onion, minced
salt to taste
1/2 cup white rice
1/2 cup Calendula petals
1/2 cup Orzo

Heat oil in a heavy saucepan and stir in onions, rice and orzo. Stir constantly to cook rice and orzo and to lightly cook onions. When rice is opaque, add stock and salt. Stir well. Cover and turn heat to low. Check after 15 minutes to see if rice is tender but not mushy. If not tender, cook 5 more minutes and check again. When rice is tender add calendula petals and toss gently. Cover and leave with heat off for about 5 minutes to steam before serving.


Makes 10 to 16 servings
8-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 Cool Triple Lemon Dip (Frawley’s Fine Herbary)
2 store-bought angel food cakes or 1 angel food cake mix, baked and cooled
2 cups raspberry filling or raspberry jam
1 cup Raspberry Schnapps (optional)
16-ounce container of Cool Whip
2 cups fresh raspberries
Calendula flowers for garnish

In a food processor blend together cream cheese and sour cream. Add the dip mix and blend thoroughly. Chill well.

Slice cakes horizontally in 1 1/2-inch slices (this will be 3 slices each for the small “store bought” cakes and 6 slices for the “cake mix” cake). Spread the raspberry filling or jam on each slice. Cut each slice in 1 1/2-inch cubes.

In a large, straight-sided glass bowl put cubes from 2 slices of cake on the bottom of the bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 cup Raspberry Schnapps (optional). Spread a layer of Cool Triple Lemon Dip (about 2 cups) on top of the cake and place 1/3 of the raspberries. Put another layer of cubes from 2 slices of cake, drizzle with another 1/3 cup Raspberry Schnapps (optional). Mix 1 cup of Cool Triple Lemon Dip with 1 cup Cool Whip and spread a layer on top of the second layer of cake and place another 1/3 of the raspberries on top of that. Put the last layer of cubed cake slices on top, drizzle with 1/3 cup Raspberry Schnapps (optional) and spread plain Cool Whip on top. Put the last of the raspberries and the calendula petals or flowers on top for garnish. Cover and chill at least several hours or up to 24 hours before serving.