Like many flowers and herbs, the best time to harvest calendulas is in the morning once the dew has dried. At this time, the calendulas have opened to the welcoming sun. In addition to harvesting the flowers in full bloom, you should also harvest flowers that are half-open. Half-open calendulas will open a bit more after harvest and by then, they will have past their best time for medicinal use as the petals wither.
- Pick calendulas frequently at their peak as soon as the first flowers fully bloom. The more you harvest these flowers, the more you encourage new growth so keep harvesting! Under-harvesting will cause the flowers to seed and stop producing.
- Cut stems close as close to the flower head as possible.
Calendulas have been used for centuries as a culinary, medicinal, and spiritual herb. Its bright warm colors were used as a dye for cheese and butter.
- If you would like to use calendula for cooking, add the leaves and florets as seasoning to sauces, soups, and porridge. Dried and powdered flower blossoms can be used as a saffron substitute.
- Calendula has been used as an antiseptic for skin wounds like burns, cuts, or scrapes. During the Civil War, they were used to stop blood flow from wounds. The flower is also used as a digestive remedy and can be made into an infusion or tincture.