|October 2016: Brocade Mix (Tagetes Patula)|
What anyone who's ever grown this little flower possibly most easily recognized for its association with Dia de los Muertos will tell you is how ridiculously easy they are to grow, how prolific the blooms are (they go positively wild with frequent clipping, and proper dead-heading), and how insanely long the growing season is (especially in the mild PNW) -- Last year they were still going strong all the way through mid-November.
|Rinsed & Drying on a rack|
Since then, it has been my goal to find the perfect drying instructions in order to keep this precious exlixir flowing through the off-season ... And I've done it (cue maniacal laughter)! My fresh recipe found: here is simply 1-2 cups of rinsed and snipped petals combined with 4 cups of boiling water in a french press.
|Dried & Ready to cool|
- Clip blooms & Rinse well
- Shake off excess water
- Arrange on roasting pan rack to dry
- Once mostly dry, place pan in oven on lowest setting (typically 150° F) with the door cracked open to ensure generous air flow, and proper circulation (we don't want to bake them, just dry them).
- After any trace of water has disappeared, and the flowers have begun to shrink and become brittle (about 1 hour) remove pan from oven, empty it of all flower heads, and remove the rack.
- Snip petals from the green calyx that secures them to the stem, and scatter them around the bottom of the pan.
- Place roasting pan back into the oven (still on lowest setting) with the door cracked until all discernible dampness, and moisture is gone. The timing here depends entirely on the size, moisture content, and oil found in the marigold petals. Check every 15 minutes, rustling them around each time until a deep, rich color has developed, and the petals are "crunchy" to the touch.
Known Folk Uses for Marigolds:
-Often referred to as the "poor man's saffron" dried marigold petals can be used in place of the much more expensive spice in many dishes.
-Dye & Food coloring.
-Mosquito and pest repellent.
-Fragrance in perfumes.
-Relieving digestive discomfort.
-Activating menstruation, soothing breast tenderness, and protection against miscarriage.
-Tagetes oil has been used to ease the discomfort of all manner of skin irritations including eczema, wounds, and ulcerations.
A recent study tackling the claims of antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties of marigolds.
Irakli Chkhikvishvili, Tamar Sanikidze, Nunu Gogia, et al., “Constituents of French Marigold (Tagetes patula L.) Flowers Protect Jurkat T-Cells against Oxidative Stress,” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2016, Article ID 4216285, 10 pages, 2016. doi:10.1155/2016/4216285