Squash Blossoms: Science and Recipes!

(photo plus intriguing recipe from Dish-Trict)

I mentioned getting squash blossoms at the Farmers’ Market yesterday and Gerky asked what I did with them.  To tell you the truth, I’m not sure yet!  They are being carefully stored in my fridge for tonight (they are very perishable!) and I have big plans for them.

I can’t decide between Homesick Texan’s Squash Blossom Quesadillas, using them on homemade pesto pizzas (coincidentally already planned for the week’s menu sometime) like those on Former Chef, stuffing and frying or making a soup like on Seasonal Chef, or just frying them like Sassy Radish.

In the meantime, here’s a little squash blossom science courtesy of Alexandra Cooks:

Squash flowers are either male or female: male flowers are equipped with a stamen, females with a stigma. Males, more plentiful in number, stand on long, thin stems, while the females, sitting on a small, fuzzy green ball, blossom closer to the vine.

Only when a grain of pollen from the stamen lands on the stigma, will this ball turn into a squash. Pollination occurs when bees or other insects travel from flower to flower, or when the wind blows. Using a brush, humans can fertilize the plant as well by collecting pollen from the stamen and painting it onto the stigma.

But here’s the miracle: Pollination can occur on only one day in a blossom’s entire lifetime. Just before dawn, the flowers uncurl; by midday, they begin to close; and by dusk, they close, precluding pollination forever. Few flowers actually ever bear fruit. I know, I know, home gardeners can’t give away enough zucchini during the growing season. I still think it’s amazing.

Me too.  And hopefully tasty.  I’ll let you know!

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4 thoughts on “Squash Blossoms: Science and Recipes!

  1. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, and I now have a garden full of squash flowers ready for the picking! I just needed to research which to pick and when, and your post inspired me to finally do that.

    I think I’m going to start with some simple fried flowers sprinkled with confectioners sugar, and in a couple days stuff some with a garlic & cream cheese mixture to fry, as I much prefer savory foods over sweet. 😀

    Can’t wait to hear what you do and how you like them!

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  2. Barb, we made these tonight (three ways) and the kids want me to warn you not to try to fry these and sprinkle powdered sugar on them. That’s just all kinds of wrong. 🙂

    The verdict–

    Just fried (no batter) — nasty, flavorless, they practically shatter and are nothing but thin planes of fried taste. Pah.

    On pizza– pretty, subtle flavor that shouldn’t offend anybody. Tear off the bottom bit completely as the stamen and related bits can be bitter and there are tiny ones that stay at the bottom of some (female?).

    Stuffed and battered — too much work for that result. Daryl was the only one who liked them. They fall apart, splatter you with hot grease and seem to be lacking something. There are too many things in life that will make your eyes roll back in your head to waste this much time on something just okay. 🙂 Also, any little bits of pollen-making equipment at the bottom that remain will make that bite bitter.

    It was a fun experiment but next time we’ll use them in soup or stir fries.

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  3. The pizza looked really good. Sorry the recipes didn’t work out for you but I am glad it are the one who tried them and not me…LOL.

    Thanks for the update.

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  4. Ok, so I read the responses and still think I want to do what I plan for the squash blossoms. I am a culinary student and have a native themed catering project for the final. I want to stuff the blossoms with blue cornmush, batter and deep fry. Definitely let you know how that goes….

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