Summer is here, and there are wonderful things growing in the garden, sometimes surprising things.
This is the time of year when we look forward to fried and stuffed, squash blossoms. They’re prolific, easy to prepare, look beautiful and they’re delicious. Squash blossoms have long been popular in Europe, especially Italy, where, in season, you’ll see them on the menu as appetizers in upscale restaurants. Their popularity has grown and migrated to this country. We grow them in our garden specifically for stuffing, but we’ve also seen them for sale at local farmers markets.
In the category of “who knew,” gourds and squash have edible male and female flowers. Both male and female flowers are required for pollination. The male blossoms are the ones you should harvest to make stuffed squash blossoms. The male flowers are strictly the flower on a stem, the female has the beginnings of the fruit at the base of the flower.
Many varieties of squash blossoms can be stuffed and fried, however the butternut and acorn squash blossoms tend to be stiff and bitter. You can use crocked neck squash, yellow squash and even pumpkin blossoms for stuffing, but, far and away, the most popular are zucchini blossoms. The flowers have subtle flavors and are somewhat delicate. Although they can be stored overnight, they’re best when served close to picking.