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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marigold Corn Pone and Marigold Honey inspired by Garden Spells

Marigold Corn Pone and Marigold Honey inspired by Garden Spells
Garden SpellsA few weeks back, I read a fun book.  It was the story of family and their gift of magic...unique to each person, yet intertwined through the bonds of blood and family lore.  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen weaves the story of Claire Waverly a woman after my own heart, a whiz in the kitchen who prepares her food using the herbs, plants, and edible flowers that grow on her mysterious family land.

She cooks and bakes with intent, infusing the food with the natural power that nature has to offer.  All of the Waverlys are born with their own unique gifts, but Claire and her connection with nature and the kitchen were what inspired me to head into the kitchen today.  Neighbors are both leery and mesmerized by the Waverly family, their seemingly magical gifts...and that enchanted apple tree which grows in their garden and is said to reveal the future to those who eat from its fruit.

So, into the garden I went to gather some of those amorous Marigold blooms that line the beds.  Calendula (or pot marigold) has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes since the beginning of is used in salves and to treat ulcers.  Eating it is rumored to make one feel amorous...or perhaps to put ones mind at ease and lull them to sleep it may even help you to see those faeries that so many people are inclined not to notice.  Because the tone of calendula is deep and golden, it is also used to color cheese and butter...among other culinary delights.  The other type of edible marigold is the French Marigold...which is used for many of the same purposes.  It as known as an herb of the sun and can represent wealth (coins) and associated with the sun.
Here are a just a few ways that marigolds are used throughout different cultures: 
"In the West country of England these flowers are known as 'The Drunkards' due their reputation for turning people into alcoholics when the flowers are picked or even looked at for any length of time. 

The Welsh traditionally believed the flower could be used as a weather omen. If the flowers were not open early in the morning a storm was on the way. 

Used as a love charm, in wedding garlands and posies, it was also believed that rubbing the flower head on a wasp or bee sting would alleviate any pain. 

In India the flowers are offered to the Hindu gods, Vishnu and Lakshmi especially in the month of December."*

two types of marigolds
I wanted to combine the glory of both marigolds with some of my own Native American heritage...corn and honey.  Corn is one of the all-important three sisters (along w/ squash and beans) and has been a staple in our cooking for as long as anyone can remember.  Marigolds were planted all around the crops to deter some harmful insects (who don't like their pungent smell), although the beneficial insects like butterflies and bees drink that scent up!

Honey  was a wonderful natural source of sweetening our food...a gift from the Creator, the bees, and the flower people.  It comes around, huh...the bees are always hovering around the marigolds, gathering make sweeten the corn...that was growing in between the nourish our bodies...and our souls.

When preparing marigolds for eating, I cut off the petals at the base, leaving the somewhat bitter what portion of the petal behind.
snipping marigold petals
marigold petals
It helps to muddle or bruise the petals a bit before they can start to release their beneficial oils. I need all the faeries I can get!.
muddling petals
muddled petals

Marigold Honey
Local honey infused with the magic of marigold petals.
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: condiment edible flowers honey

Ingredients (varies)
  • Marigolds (Calendula, French Marigold, or a combination)
  • Good Liquid Honey
Snip a bunch of marigold petals from their base and muddle them a bit. Fill a glass jar with the petals.

Heat up the honey, so it is a good, pouring consistency, then fill up the jar with it. Let cool, then screw on the lid and use as you would any honey—especially if you're looking to add a little mischief to your meal!

Marigold Honey
Now on the the corn pone.  When most people think of corn pone, they think of the firm version...which I adore...cut and fried until golden.  Which is fabulous drizzled with honey. But I also love the warm, creamy version of corn pone (same as corn meal mush or polenta...depending on who you're talking to)...especially on a cool morning...ready to welcome Autumn in all her fabulous glory!  And if you infuse it with some sunny marigold petals and drizzle it with some marigold honey, it warms you to the bone and helps you commune with those mischievous, wonderful harvest faeries.

Marigold Corn Pone
Marigold Corn Pone and Marigold Honey inspired by Garden Spells
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: breakfast American

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1/2 cup medium stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup of muddled Marigold petals
Bring the milk, water, salt, and marigold petals to a boil and whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce heat and allow to just barely bubble for ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it seems too thick, whisk in a bit more milk until it reaches a very creamy consistency.

Serve immediately, drizzled with Marigold Honey.

If you have leftovers, simply spread it out in a sprayed/lined pan and refrigerate. You can then cut out pieces and fry them in bacon fat or butter until crisp and golden on the outside. Then drizzle 'em with honey to serve.
Marigold Corn Pone and Marigold Honey inspired by Garden Spells

edible flowers - Marigolds
*source: Angelfire~Meanings and Legends of Flowers