A perfect miniature marigold lives in the crack between sidewalk and step. It’s too late to yank it by the roots — it has arrived. It’s growing, has a tiny flower.
Who am I to declare “You may not thrive there…”
My daughter knows a thing or two about the marigold trick. She floated in on the wind when no one was paying attention and planted herself, said hello. How could I say — Mistake! Go back! — once she had gone to the trouble of becoming?
Who am I to refuse life, or say no to blossoming, to the cause of beauty?
It sounds slightly wacko, this idea of eating flowers. Not just flowers, but marigolds, of all things.
But I am a farm girl, and I figured that since chickens eat marigolds (did you know that?),and we eat eggs, then marigolds must be good for us!
Actually, marigolds are better than good… more on that in a minute. So why not consume the marigolds even more directly?
For anyone who has never been around a chicken coop — chickens eat growing things of every color if left to their own devices. Meaning — if they are truly free range and can get outside to enjoy bugs and flowers and plants, they are healthier and produce beautiful eggs with gorgeous yolks, high in nutrition.
Marigolds in a Window Box
Chickens are often given marigolds to make their egg yolks a deeper yellow, which is especially nice in the winter time when they spend less time outside eating vibrant colors in their happy chicken yard.
The really lucky thing is that besides the beautiful yellow color of marigold leaves, all that vibrant yellow color contains two wonder ingredients — lutein and zeaxanthin — vital food for healthy eyes.
Eating enough lutein and zeaxanthin (most Americans don’t) can prevent or slow macular degeneration. Macular Degeneration is a serious subject and you can learn more here.
Keeping healthy vision is reason enough to eat marigold leaves.
But then there is the subject of color — the vibrant sunset colors of marigolds. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Adding marigold leaves to a salad makes the entire salad come alive with color.
In my book, any way to make food more beautiful is simply icing on the cake.
Marigolds could be my new favorite salad ingredient. I don’t know. They are bright. They are healthy. There is a fierce competition going on in my kitchen, however, between red and green shiso and marigolds. I’ll update you, I’m sure you can’t wait to hear.
So far, I think the marigolds are winning, and to be fair, it’s probably because I have them planted everywhere. There is something to be said for strength in numbers.
Edible Flowers -- Marigolds
By the way, pansies and nasturtiums are edible as well, and used often in gourmet salads. Substitute freely if those are more available.
The benefits of marigolds are many, and not just for your diet, or the diet of your chickens. According to Mother Earth News marigolds help ward off pests in the garden. Sprinkle them everywhere in your garden.
Planted in borders around a garden, or in rows next to vegetable crops, marigolds are an above ground trap for Japanese beetles.
But did you know that marigolds are at work below the surface of the soil in your garden as well?
Underground, they ward off nematodes, which attack the roots of plants. Good for marigolds, my new heroes!
Here is a recipe for a summer salad that is flexible and easy. This list of ingredients is for starters. Feel free to add or subtract depending on your tastes.
When preparing food, just remember that color is key. The more colors in the meal, the more nutrition present, guaranteed.
To your health!
Summer Greek Salad with Shrimp and Marigolds
Romaine lettuce — a large handful per personSoaked pumpkin seeds — 1 T. per person. See “Soaking Nuts” note below.Chopped green onions — about 1 T. per personKalamata Olives — about 5 per person, or to taste.Tomatoes — chopped fresh. About 1/2 tomato per person. Use heirlooms if available.Fresh oregano leaves — to taste. Or the leaves from a 6″ tall spike per person.Marigold leaves — the leaves from one or two marigold flowers per person, depending on the size of the marigold. Put in enough to make a color splash!*********Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar — 2-3 tsp. per person
Olive Oil — 1 T. per person
Salt and Pepper to taste*********Feta Cheese — 2 T. per personCooked Shrimp — 5 large Shrimp per person Combine romaine through marigold leaves. Toss with the simple dressing of cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and cracked pepper, or your dressing of choice. Divide onto plates. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled feta cheese (it looks nicer than adding it before tossing). Arrange cooked shrimp on top. Oh, and expect “oooo’s and ahhhh’s.” Soaking Nuts — Soaking seeds and nuts is a great benefit nutritionally and they are easier to digest. For starters, go to The Nourishing Gourmet. She gives directions for soaking any kind of nut. You can simply put them in a small bowl, cover with spring water, and soak overnight in the refrigerator. You can also soak them in salt water, which is what The Nourishing Gourmet suggests.
You’re broken down and tired Of living life on a merry go round And you can’t find the fighter But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out And move mountains We gonna walk it out And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again And I’ll rise up High like the waves I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
When the silence isn’t quiet And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe And I know you feel like dying But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet And move mountains Bring it to its feet And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
All we need, all we need is hope And for that we have each other And for that we have each other And we will rise We will rise We’ll rise, oh, oh We’ll rise
I’ll rise up Rise like the day I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I will rise a thousand times again And we’ll rise up High like the waves We’ll rise up In spite of the ache We’ll rise up And we’ll do it a thousand times again
During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.