I just posted this on my new blog, St Clarens General Store, but thought it was also something I might post here. (Oh Typepad! Why must you crop my photos for me!!) Now for a cup of tea! :)
I decided today was the day to decant the calendula flowers I had soaking in almond oil since July. At the time I had wanted to make a recipe for anti-itch after bug bite salve, but I had to wait for the calendula to diffuse into my oil - I had read you could leave it for 6-8 weeks in a sunny spot. I know I could have sped up the process by warming it in a jar, in my slow cooker for a few hours, but I wasn't in a hurry! I had been quite pleased to realize calendula also goes by the more humble name of marigold, a flower I buy by the flats in the spring to spruce up my tiny yard. So, my "harvest" comes from only four window boxes on my patio overlooking my tiny 13x20 ft decked in yard.
After draining the oil from the flowers I suddenly thought today would be the day to harvest what flowers are left, and there are many still from this hardy re-seeding flower, because soon enough the first frosts will descend upon us.
I am going to dry the petals in the oven, probably a turned off oven once dinner is cooked tonight. I will leave them in there as the oven cools and hopefully remember they are there when I turn on the oven again make tomorrow's dinner! I don't want toasted petals, just dried! Then I will store them until I need more oil, or perhaps just start the soaking process now...thinking aloud here!
Calendula is said to be good for all kinds of things - soothing itches and burns, helps to heal cuts and has antibacterial and immunostimulant properties. My four year old son said a dab of the oil helped his mosquito bites straight away, which was a relief for us both, as he fights anything at all being put on his skin. Picky picky!
It is so pleasing to me to be able to create something new out of something so ordinary as my cheerful marigolds, and to know so much else growing around me could have use. This year I have brought in all my geraniums, my rosemary, thyme and citronella plants so I won't lose them in our icy winter. It is lovely to have a waft of them as I walk by!