After yesterday’s rainstorm, I emerged this morning into fresh, cool air to go for a run and lo and behold, there were half a dozen bright yellow zucchini flowers just begging to be used in a fun recipe.
“Wait, wait, wait!” you might say. “If you snip all those flowers, won’t you be reducing the crop of zucchini that you’ll get?” Not so, as it turns out.
Interestingly, your squash plant has blossoms of two genders. The female blossoms grow close to the base or main stem of the plant and the male blossoms grow on tall stems. Like many species in the animal kingdom, the males are ostentatious and attract more attention.
Once the female flowers are fertilized, they begin to grow into zucchini, the male flowers fall off once their job is done. Meaning, if your plants are showing signs of fruit growing, it may be time to snip off some male flowers and use them in a recipe.
Admittedly, most of the recipes out there either beer batter and fry the blossoms or stuff them with cheese, then beer batter and fry them. There’s nothing wrong with that. I like a nice beer batter as much as the next guy (these sardines are crazy good, for example… like 1000 times better than you expect).
When Rebecca and I were in Italy a few years ago, we ate pizza almost everywhere we went and once had the privilege of having a squash blossom and gorgonzola pizza in Rome. It was springtime, after all, and the squash blossoms were out in full force. The pizza had a white base, and so it was not Rebecca’s favorite (remember how much she loves sauce?), but I loved it.
Luckily, we had an extra portion of dough in the freezer (I always make enough for two pies and freeze one), along with some frozen homemade sauce that didn’t get used last time. That, along with a half a tomato leftover from salad earlier in the week, some fresh oregano and basil from the garden and BAM! Lunch. It was an impromptu meal, but it was the perfect mix of springtime flavors.
Note: All the recipes I’ve seen call for removing the anther and filament of each flower, for whatever reason, so I carefully cut each flower in half lengthwise, and removed them.