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Need help with zucchini or squash flowers

r
rouxmaker Jun 30, 2008 01:34 PM

I'm growing zucchini mainly for the flowers because I recently had them at a restaurant stuffed with ricotta cheese. lightly battered and fried. I want to make this at home!

When is it best to harvest? Obviously you pick them before the flower drops from the fruit, but should you pick them before the fruit forms or is it better when there is a tiny zucchini or squash attached?

How can I store the flowers until I have enough to cook for several people?

Anybody have any good recipes for the flowers?

  1. DanaB Jul 4, 2008 10:30 AM

    The zucchini plant typically produces both male and female flowers. The male flowers are much bigger and are great for stuffing. The female flowers are much smaller and will result in a zucchini forming right behind the blossom. Both can be eaten. If you pick the females, I like them better once the little zucchini has formed behind the blossom.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DanaB
      n
      nemo Jul 4, 2008 10:36 AM

      Dana: We posted at the same time. Thanks for the clarification.

    2. t
      Tripper Jul 4, 2008 10:22 AM

      I have always wondered...if I pick the flowers will they still bear zucchini?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tripper
        n
        nemo Jul 4, 2008 10:31 AM

        Good question, Tripper. I always thought the male plant produced flowers that never fruited (so okay to pick), and the female plant's flowers made zucchini. Are there male and female zucchini plants?

        At the rate zucchinis produce, I'd say steal a few blossoms and you'll still have plenty fruit to deal with!

      2. m
        Meann Jul 4, 2008 08:29 AM

        I have an opportunist in the garden, which I think is an ornamental gourd rather than a traditionally edible squash. Does anyone know if the flowers are edible, even if the eventual fruit isn't?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Meann
          Sam Fujisaka Jul 4, 2008 09:09 AM

          Edible. I harvest my flowers coming back down from my run--from volunteers along the roadside. The plants are squash or zuchini, but I've never seen any of them fruit.

        2. Sam Fujisaka Jul 4, 2008 07:03 AM

          Just pick when large, remove base and stamens. I can never get them to last; and prepare them soon after picking. Light tempura batter or opened and flat in a crepe for me. Can also roll them into a pasta sheet when making pasta.

          1. MMRuth Jun 30, 2008 01:47 PM

            Oh - and I can't help you about picking them, but they've lasted a couple of days in the fridge after I've bought them at the farmer's market - I was actually surprised that they did.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth
              MMRuth Jul 4, 2008 06:52 AM

              BTW - I have some leftover from last Saturday - they still look quite good and I'm going to try frying them for lunch - only one looks on the sad side, and I'm going to pitch.

              1. re: MMRuth
                MMRuth Jul 4, 2008 10:36 AM

                Just had them for lunch - not as much zucchini flower flavor as last Saturday, but still awfully good (fried both times).

            2. lynnlato Jun 30, 2008 01:39 PM

              I've made them stuffged w/ fresh goat cheese and dipped in tempura batter & fried - pure heaven! I don't blame u one bit for growing the squash just for the blossoms!

              I purchased the flowers fresh at a farmer's market. I wouldn't think they freeze well.

              1. MMRuth Jun 30, 2008 01:37 PM

                Here's a risotto I made using them two ways:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/441966

                And a soup recipe:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/501003

                Stuffed:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43492...

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