Squash blossoms, for me, are one of the things that signal that summer is really here. Squash flowers can only pollinate or be pollinated the same day they open. They shrivel up and die so quickly I don’t feel at all bad about eating the ones that aren’t needed for squash. Often, there will be a glut of male flowers for a few weeks before the plants start producing female flowers and there are almost always extra male flowers. You can easily tell the difference, all the ones pictured here are males. I would have taken photos showing the difference but the squash here right now only have male flowers. Females have a miniature squash below the bloom but males do not. If a female bloom doesn’t get pollinated it will stop enlarging, turn yellow, shrivel and eventually fall off.
With all the trouble our pollinators are in right now its great to know how to hand pollinate and squash are about the easiest thing to start with. Peel the petals off a male flower so only the pollen covered stamen is left. Find a female flower and cover the sticky center projection aka the pistil with pollen; sometimes you can pollinate two females with one male. Insect pollinators do a much better job with less wasted pollen than us humans can manage but if your squash plants aren’t setting fruit hand pollinating is a viable option for squash. Here’s a post all about hand pollinating.
Stuffed squash blossoms can be as simple or complex as you want and there are hundreds of variations. Do whatever sounds good to you! One thing to keep in mind is how fast these puppies loose quality. I like them as a breakfast or brunch dish or appetizer so I can use them when they are freshest. If you want to serve them a few hours after they are picked wrap them in wet paper towels or real ones whichever you use and put them in something to keep the humidity in. Plastic wrap, plastic bag, food storage container, you get the idea, and refrigerate. You might be able to keep them nice until the next day but I always pick them the same day I want to use them.
Just before filling I gently rinse them and remove the stamen or pistil. This time the filling was a mix of mozzarella, spinach, red sweet pepper and herbs. I heated the roughly minced pepper in a dry pan to give it a sort of roasted pepper flavor. You have to keep a good eye on it since you don’t want anything to burn, just caramelize. A more common squash blossom filling is ricotta based. You make essentially the same filling as you would for stuffed shells or lasagna. You also have to be careful not to over stuff the blossoms or they will explode while frying, which can get very exciting and messy.
The stuffed flowers are coated in flour, egg and bread crumbs. I coat them twice in flour and egg before coating in bread crumbs to make sure the coating actually sticks.
I place the blossoms petal end down in a pan of hot oil to seal them closed then fry them on all sides. You can see the varying degrees of under and over cooking corresponding to how distracted I was with taking pictures and how impatient I was to eat the tasty bites.
This really isn’t a recipe that has measurement. “Measurementless” recipes make my husband crazy, I think that is so funny! My family has always cooked without measurements. I guess the family has it’s own “measurements’ of sorts. We know what we mean when we say “cover the bottom of the pan with oil” or “do blank just until blank happens”. So I’m sorry if the lack of measurements irks you but really, lighten up! This turned out without anything being precisely measured. Just make sure you have enough stuffing for all the flowers you have and egg, flour and bread crumbs to coat all the blossoms.
We ate these along side bread and scrambled eggs that we mixed the extra filling into for a breakfast that was both filling and light.
What do you do with squash blossoms?
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