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Need help with zucchini or squash flowers

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?

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    1. 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. 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

          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

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

        2. 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. 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

              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.