What Are Squash Blossoms?
On the end of every zucchini or summer squash growing on a plant you will find a vibrant yellow-orange flower, the blossom, which is a vegetable in its own right. They are fragile and very delicately flavored, with a bit more sweetness than the flavor of the squash itself.
Where Can You Find Squash Blossoms?
Truly the best place to find them is on a zucchini or squash plant, which means they are at the peak of freshness. The next best place is a farmers’ market, which should mean they wre picked hours ago. Specialty food store and high end supermarket also will carry them, but take a good look to make sure what you are buying are fresh blossoms.
How to Choose Squash Blossoms
Whether you are buying them at a farmers’ market, a supermarket, or picking them of a plant in your garden (or in my case my neighbors’ garden, because I just have been off the gardening wagon for a while), you want to make sure they are super fresh. Squash blossoms are naturally soft, but pick those that look perky not droopy, with closed buds.
If you have a choice, because you are picking them from a plant, try and choose the male versions of the blossoms (there are both male and female flowers that grow on the vegetable, both edible, but there is different plant genecology inside – more on that here!). This means that the plant will still be able to grow the zucchini or squash itself, as those vegetables grow attached to the female blossoms.
How to choose, store and prepare those gorgeous seasonal squash blossoms.Tweet This
What is the Season for Zucchini and Squash Blossoms?
Squash blossoms start to appear in late spring or early summer and can be found all the way into the fall. They start before the zucchini or squash plants begin to produce the zucchini or squashes themselves, and then keep going as long as the plants are producing the vegetables.
How Do You Cook Squash Blossoms?
They are most often served sautéed or fried, usually battered, and frequently stuffed first, often with some sort of creamy cheese filling. They can also be baked or steamed, usually with a filling.
Squash blossoms can be enjoyed uncooked, often in salads or used as a garnish for pastas, risottos, soups, or other cooked dishes. They can also be stuffed and not cooked, just enjoyed raw, which means you get to taste the subtle flavor without distraction. Make sure the filling is gently seasoned, because the flavor of the blossom itself is easy to overpower.
How to Store Squash Blossoms
They need to be kept in the fridge, and really don’t last more than a day or two. If you find them at a farmers’ market, grab them, and cook them right away.
Should You Wash Squash Blossoms?
I think, no, don’t wash them – that may not feel PC, but they are so flimsy that the minute you rinse them they will wilt right up.
How to Prepare Squash Blossoms for Eating
You do however want to remove the pistil or the stamens from the center. Some recipes suggest removing the stems, but that make the blossoms even more fragile to handle, plus the stem is both edible and delicious.
Are Squash Blossoms Nutritious?
They contain vitamins A and C, and some iron and calcium, but they aren’t a major course of any nutrients, given their flimsiness.
Squash Blossoms Recipes:
Try squash blossoms in these recipes.
Throw them on top of a salad, such as:
- Artichoke, Feta and Roasted Pepper Couscous Salad
- Tomato, Red Onion, Watercress, Feta and Olive Salad
- Perfect End of Summer Pasta Salad