Tag Archives: Soup

Leek, Potato and Calendula soup

I often use fresh  petals to garnish soup; they are almost always available on my balcony, they look so pretty and their intense orange colour encourages appetite.  After writing about uses for Calendula, I thought I should make more of an effort to use the dried flowers in my food.   Adding dried Calendula flowers to soups, or broths, was seen as essential to Old English cooks.  They apparently felt that a broth without pot marigold was not a real broth, so that’s where I decided to start!

My Leek, Potato and Calendula soup requires about 5 dried Calendula organic flower heads.  If you have dried petals, rather than flower heads, then those will also work well.  Calendula flowers can taste quite bitter if infused for too long, so I added them to the soup just 5 minutes before the end of cooking and ensured that the leeks were thoroughly cooked at the start, to add a little sweetness.  Calendula flowers are most likely to work their magic if some of their astringency is allowed to shine through, so don’t try to mask their taste completely, enjoy it.

(Serves two)
2 long, thin leeks
4 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped.
5 Dried Calendula officinalis flower heads (or 3 heaped tsp dried petals)
Vegetable stock (optional)
Olive oil for sweating leeks

  1. Clean and trim the leeks.
  2. Slice the leeks and add to a pan with well fitting lid.
  3. Add a little olive oil and allow them to sweat gently over a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the leeks are very soft add the chopped potatoes and enough water to amply cover the vegetables.
  5. Add a vegetable stock cube or 2 tsp bouillon powder if desired.
  6. Bring the vegetables and water to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked.
  7. Add the Calendula flowers or petals and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Remove any hard flower parts (the stalks and flower centres) before liquidising the soup.
  10. Serve warm.

43 Uses for Calendula (NL:Goudsbloem)

Calming, cooling, cleansing. Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold, NL: Goudsbloem) is one of the easiest herbs to grow and perhaps one of the most useful to Urban Herbologists. It is a hardy annual which does very well in containers, can flower throughout the year and self seeds readily. It is beautiful, tastes good and has gentle astringent, anti-inflammatory, cooling, detoxifying and antiseptic actions. If you only have space to grow one herb, this has to be one to consider. Many of the remedies mentioned here are very easy to make, if you prefer to buy them from a reliable source, I recommend Weleda products (some links are included in the list). N.B. Calendula is not to be confused with French marigold (Tagetes patula). Calendula is very gentle but when trying a new herb it is always wise to use very small quantities at first or to do a skin patch test.

43 uses for Calendula

Medicinal uses
1. Sprains
– make a compress from infused flowers.
2. Gum infections –
Mouthwash from tea or a few drops of tincture in water.
3. Sore throat pastilles – Powdered dried flowers, blended with honey.
4. Mastitis & sore nipples – Calendula Cream can help strengthen nipples and prevent mastitis in nursing mothers.
5. Cold sores – Calendula salve is helpful to many cold sore sufferers.
6. Acne – Lotion made from Calendula tea can help speed healing and reduce scarring.
7. Nappy rash – Infused oil, lotion or Calendula Cream can prevent and speed healing.
8. Athletes foot – Calendula cream or infused oil, anti fungal.
9. Ring worm – Calendula cream or infused oil, anti fungal.
10. Period pain – Many women find regular use of Calendula tea helpful as a menstrual regulator.
11. Digestive inflammation – Calendula tea can often gently reduce inflammation.
12. Scar reduction – Often Calendula Oil, cream or salve can help to reduce existing scars and prevent scars.
13. Lowering mild fever – Drinking Calendula tea at first signs may help.
14. Skin softening – Massage using Calendula infused oil.
15. Eczema – Calendula infused oil or cream often calms red, hot eczema conditions.
16. Dry chapped skin – Calendula salve or infused oil.
17. Varicose veins – Calendula salve or cream.
18. Chillblains – Calendula salve or cream.
19. Post operative recovery – Calendula tea. Gentle, cooling, nourishing, speeds healing, reduction of scarring.

Culinary uses
20. Herbal ice cubes/wands – Freeze petals in ice cubes for summer drinks.
21. Salad flowers – Pretty and tasty, sprinkle on top.
22. Soups Add dried or fresh flowers or petals to soups. An ancient broth without Calendula was incomplete, hence the name Pot Marigold.
23. Saffron colour substitute – The taste is different but the colour is very similar.
24. Risotto – Adding whole petals livens up the appearance of risotto.
25. Soft cheese –
Blend in whole or chopped fresh petals. Previously used to colour cheese yellow.
26. Yoghurt –
Mix in fresh petals or spinkle on top.
27. Butter –
Mix in finely chopped fresh petals. Can be frozen.
28. Omelettes –
Add fresh petals for colour and taste.
29. Cakes –
Use calendula butter or add fresh petals to cake mix.
30. Milk dishes –
Add to rice pudding, custards and similar dishes.
31. Sweet breads –
A little like saffron.
32. Vegetable bouillon – Add to mixes of dried herbs and vegetables.
33. Source of Vitamin A

Other uses
34. Fabric/Wool dye –
Boil flowers, yellow dye. Suitable mordant is alum.
35. Pot pourri – Whole dried flowers retain colour and mild scent.
36. Alter decorations – Used since ancient times to adorn spiritually significant objects and buildings.
37. Skin toner – Cooled tea.
38. Eye make-up remover – Infused oil.
39. Face cleanser – Infused oil or cream.
40. Lip balm – Soothing and calming, beeswax and infused oil.
41. Hair rinse – Tea, to brighten blond hair.
42. Companion planting – Useful for deterring pests in organic gardens.
43. Year round colour – The Romans noted this plant tends to be in bloom on first day of each month (calends), hence the latin name.