Squash, while tasty in their own right, also have delicious edible flowers. Squash blossoms last for just a day or two before their usefulness fades, but if you have a squash plant in your garden, you can pick the blossoms and use them within hours. Prepare both winter and summer squash blossoms the same way, but pick only the long-stemmed male blossoms to ensure continued reproduction in the plant. Use the female blossoms located at the end of the squash if you want to slow the rate of fruiting.
Harvest Squash Blossoms
Harvest the squash blossoms during the middle of the day with the blooms open, after the dew has dried from them.
Look for the male blossoms by locating the blooms with long, thin stems. Female blooms have squash growing from their centers.
Cut the blossoms off with pruning shears, leaving behind 1 inch of stem. Allow some male blossoms to remain on the plant to continue reproduction of the plant.
Rinse off the blossoms in tepid water. Store them in ice water in the refrigerator for one to two days.
Drain the squash blossoms and blot them dry on paper towels to use raw in salads.
Add blossoms to your favorite stir-fry or frittata (omelet) recipe.
Make Fried, Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Make the batter. Combine 1 cup flour, ½ cup cornstarch, ½ tsp. salt and 1 cup of milk, water or beer. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Make the filling. Mix together ¼ cup ricotta, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tbsp. minced fresh basil and 2 tbsp. chopped mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare the squash and frying oil. Drain and pat dry the squash blossoms. Heat ½ inch of canola oil in a skillet over high heat until it reads 375 degrees F with a frying thermometer.
Fill the squash blossoms. Carefully open the blossoms and pull out the stamens in the middle if using male blossoms. Spoon ½ tsp. of the ricotta cheese mixture into the middle of each blossom, bringing the petals up and around the filling. Twist to close.
Batter and fry the squash blossoms. Dip each stuffed blossom into the chilled batter mixture and slowly lower into the hot oil. Fry the blossoms for three minutes total, turning every minute, until golden brown on all sides.
Drain and serve the squash blossoms. Remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and let them drain on paper towels. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
About this Author
Athena Hessong began her freelance writing career in 2004. She draws upon experiences and knowledge gained from teaching all high school subjects for seven years. Hessong earned a Bachelor's in Arts in history from the University of Houston and is a current member of the Society of Professional Journalists.