If you're not convinced that some flowers are meant for eating, than you haven't tried the squash blossom.
The bright orange squash flower offers a unique, mildly sweet flavour and delicate texture. At Cookstown Greens, our summer squash selection is organic pattypans. The organic squash, part of the cucurbit family, produces both male and female flowers on the same plant. This is necessary for successful pollination, and fruiting.
In order to have beautiful summer squash to harvest, we must leave the female blossoms alone (which, naturally, grow the fruit), and only pluck the male flowers (photo to the right is a female flower and patti pan)
We harvest dozens of squash blossoms every day over a period of about 4 week, starting in mid-July.
How to cook them
To start, hold the stem and gently shake the flower to ensure there are no bugs left inside. And pluck out the stamen and anthers - that's the part inside which produces the pollen.
Stuffed and Fried: Probably the most popular way to cook squash blossoms. The recipe I first tried when I began my 'squash blossoms in the kitchen' exploration is this Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossom recipe. The Ricotta is not too strong, therefore allowing your taste buds to really experience the squash blossoms' summer flavour. If you'd like to take it up a notch on the flavour scale, try it with Goat Cheese instead. I've added garlic and lemon zest to this recipe. If you don't have gruyere, you can use a hard mozzarella.
Baked: If you're trying to cut back on your oil intake, you can easily substitute the frying step (in the above recipes) with baking. I've tried both ways and they both offer a different (and delicious) experience. Instead of battering the blossom with flour, I used breadcrumbs for the oven. It helps create its crispiness. Preheat your oven to 400F and bake for 10 minutes.
I've already made some stuffing suggestions, but to go along with the Mexican theme I have to add this Roasted Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Squash Blossom recipe. Mmmm . . . delish.
Any other style: I love searching for new recipes. I'm always searching google and comparing this recipe to that, or combining ideas. When I first searched for squash blossom recipes I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can do almost anything with them, just as you would many other vegetables: pizza, pasta, stir fry, salad . . . and the list goes on!
It may seem like an intimidating ingredient to work with but if you've checked out any of these recipes, you'll see that any of these dishes are quite simple to make.
Where to buy themYour best bet is the farmers’ market. Not every farmer will harvest their squash blossoms to sell, so if you don't see them on the table ask the farmer. Perhaps you can put in an order to pick up the next week. If they have zucchinis or pattypans you can bet they'll have squash blossoms back at the farm like us!