Stuffed Squash Blossoms

One of my favorite summer treats is stuffed squash blossoms. If you carefully harvest your blossoms you can also allow your squash to grow for later harvest and enjoyment. Yep – it’s like having your cake and eating it too!

Squash Blossoms are Tasty

This is not uniquely Southwestern. The best I ever ate were from a street vendor in Oaxaca. They are also popular in India but the ones I had there were not so tasty as the recipe I am sharing today.  Basically – you can enjoy this threat anywhere that squashes grow – even Alaska.

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Not all squashes are created equal. Zucchini are very tasty, as are most cultivated summer and winter squash. Since cantaloupe, coyote melon, cucumber and even pumpkin and watermelon are in the same plant family, I did some taste tests.

“Squash Blossom” – Taste Test Results

Before cooking I gave the raw flowers a nibble. If they were not bad I went ahead and harvested.

cantaloupe – bitter tang – not harvest.
coyote melon – very bitter – not harvest.
cucumber – small flowers – not very flavorful.
pumpkin – can be considered a winter squash – tastes fine – harvested.
summer squash and zucchini – mildly sweet flavor – harvested.
watermelon – blossoms are okay – but not very tasty – at least the variety I am growing. Kinja Kat, the brat, shredded the seed packet so the information is lost. #kinjakat gets into no end of trouble but climbs into my lap and purrs sweetly at the end of the day. Kinja on YouTube.

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Female squash flowers have a tiny squash at the base. Leave these to be pollinated.

Harvest Squash Blossoms

Some care is needed to take advantage of both the blossoms and still maximize your squash yield. Squash family plants grow separate female and male flowers. Once you look a bit, it’s easy to tell the difference. Female blossoms have a miniature squash at the base of the blossom. Males just have a stem.

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Male squash blossom. The base just has a regular stem.

The interior parts are different too. Males shed pollen, and you can often seed the grains that are too large for the wind to pick up and carry. These plants need animal pollinators – like our friends the bees!

Ideally only harvest male blossoms – but leave a few so the bees pollinate your crop. If you don’t have a garden full of zucchini and summer squash, blossoms pop up at farmer’s markets and specialty food stores starting about now – mid-summer.

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Looking into a male squash flower – you can see all the giant pollen grains. You can pollinate the plants yourself by collecting this pollen on a paint brush and transfering it to a female flower.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Makes 1 dozen

1 cup flour* 
1 /2 teaspoon powdered cayenne or better yet smoked adobo chiles ground 
1 Tablespoon lemon or lime zest 
1 cup cup beer 
1 teaspoon salt
12 squash blossoms
1/ 2 cup ricotta 
greenery - fresh basil leaves, garlic chives nice too
butter or oil for frying

Go Gluten Free

Select a bland gluten-free flour, like rice or almond. Flours with stronger flavors like mesquite, banana, or teff easily overpower the delicate flavors of this dish

Create the Batter

Use an flat open cake or pan (9”), because all your blossoms are going to end up in there.
Combine the flour, spices, and lemon zest.
Stir a bit so the spices are evenly mixed.
Add the beer.
Stir or whisk in well to form a thick batter.
Set aside.

Prepare the Squash Blossoms

Gently reach inside the squash blossom and any bits that are not petals. (stamens or pistils depending on harvest).

Prepare the Filling

Chop the basil, garlic chives, or other mild green herbs.
Stir into the ricotta.
You can skip herbs if you just want something now. Indeed – you can skip the stuffing entirely and just dip the blossoms and cook them.

Stuff

Stuff each blossom with a spoonful of ricotta.
Optionally, twist the petals to close, or just press them together.
Dip them in the beer batter, and flip them over as you heat the oil so they are well coated and ready to fry.

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Cook

Heat butter or oil over medium-high heat.
When oil is hot, using long-handled thongs, carefully fry blossoms until the batter turns golden-brown, about 1 minute per side.
Remove to drying rack or paper towels to remove excess oil and wait a few moments before chowing down – you don’t want to burn your tongue.

YouTube video on creating these – releases on Thursday 25 August 2022 at 12:00 noon.

Glad I Planted Lots of Squashes

Stuffing squash blossoms with a soft cheese like fresh, homemade ricotta, then dipping them in beer batter before frying creates something crispy, rich, and uniquely flavorful. Three or four of these served with some Caldo de Verduras makes a nice light evening meal.

Thanks for reading –

The Savor Team

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