You can prepare, sauté or deep fry, and serve squash blossoms in 10 minutes or less.
Squash blossoms—yellow-orange and delightfully bright–are a summer delicacy; they must be picked, cooked, and served in the same day.
If you have more zucchini or other summer squash than you can eat, store, or give away, pick and serve squash blossoms—they have a subtle squash flavor and will give you a tasty relief from the bounty of summer squash on the vine.
Choose these blossoms: Zucchini and summer squash flowers are edible as other squash flowers including pumpkin flowers and winter squash blossoms.
Blossoms that are tastiest: Female flowers are soft, fleshy, and succulent; these are the flowers that have a small fruit attached to them at the stem end. Male flowers have no fruit attached to them; they are attached directly to the stem or branch of the vine; male flowers are hairier and more plentiful. Squash plants produce both female and male flowers on the same vine, so you can choose which you want to pick for cooking. If you want to grow squash plants just for the blossoms, grow the variety ‘Butterblossom’; it produces only oversize male flowers and no squash.
When to pick: Pick squash blossoms on the day they are about to open for the first time; these will be the most tender and succulent. But you can pick blossoms that have been on the vine a day or two as well. Pick blossoms early in the day just as they open with the new day and before insects begin to visit. Pick blossoms on the same day you plan to prepare and serve them. Squash blossoms are quick to wilt, so it is best to prepare and cook them the same day they are picked.
How to prepare: Open the blossom and inspect for insects. You can gently rinse blossoms with water if you find an insect or dust. You can pull off and discard the dark green calyx or petal base, but you don’t have to. Where the blossom meets the calyx is the most fleshy and tasty part of the flower.
How to sauté blossoms: Heat butter in a pan until it foams then lay each blossom in the butter; sauté on each side for about 2 minutes. Drain the sautéed blossoms on a paper towel. Now they are ready to serve. Serve blossoms on a plate with thin vinaigrette made from balsamic, champagne, red wine, sherry, or white vinegar.
How to deep-fry blossoms: Dip blossoms in a flour and water batter and deep fry them for 3 to 4 minutes. You can deep-fry blossoms as they are or stuffed.
- Batter: Use 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Whisk these dry ingredients together. Then mix-whisk ½ cup milk, 1 egg, grated nutmeg to taste, and grated zest into the dry ingredients. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using. This batter will be enough for a dozen blossoms.
- Deep-fry: Deep fry the blossoms in 2 quarts of peanut or soy oil heated to 365°F; be sure to use a heavy, deep pot and fill it no more than one-third full with oil. Place the lightly battered blossoms in the heated oil for 3 to 4 minutes; afterwards let them drain on a Stuffing: Before deep-drying squash blossoms you can stuff them with meat, seafood, or cheese. Use goat, soft mozzarella, or ricotta cheese. Use salmon, shrimp, or lobster or a variety of chopped or ground meats. Mix chopped dill, marjoram, or lemon thyme or chives, scallions, or chopped green peppers with the stuffing. Do not overstuff blossoms.
Other ways to serve blossoms: Chop raw blossoms and stir them into risotto.
How to store: Blossoms will keep overnight if kept cool and moist; set them in layers between dampened paper towels and seal in a plastic container. Stuffed blossoms can be stored the same way.