Squash Blossoms: A Delightful Garden Discovery
Are you growing summer squash? Farmer Lisa Sluder from Raleigh City Farm reminds us to make family time in the mornings to enjoy the beautiful squash blossoms while they are open.
Take a Closer Look
There will be male and female squash blossoms. Sometimes the males bloom first and are more abundant. You may see subtle differences between the texture of the flowers. The easiest way to know is to check the base of the flower. A male blossom bears pollen but no fruit, and it will be growing from a normal stem. The female flower tends to grow close to the center of the squash plant and will have a small fruit on the end that will eventually grow into a squash. Farmer Lisa suggests picking some of the male flowers to mix into your meals.
Yes, Squash Blossoms are Edible!
If you aren’t growing your own, you may have some luck searching for blossoms at a farmers market. They don’t last long and are considered a delicacy so grab some while you can during the blooming season.
Harvest & Clean
- Farmer Lisa says the best time to harvest the blossoms is in the morning as they are opening - right before they are fully open!
- The blossoms are very delicate so be very careful when handling them if you plan to use them whole or stuff them.
- Carefully clean and remove the center* from the blossom; gently twist the blossom off the stem
- Clean by swirling them in some clean, cool water and let them dry on a towel
*Be Mindful of Bees
Sometimes bees are found inside the blossoms. Bees are important to the pollination process of your squash plants so don’t try to get rid of them. Simply be cautious when harvesting and cleaning your blossoms. You can gently open the petals to check and release any bugs before taking the blossoms inside your home.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Squash blossom are a tasty, seasonal treat! You can find fun squash blossom recipes from around the world. Although some people like to stuff them with cheese and fry them, there are many healthier alternatives for enjoying them any time of day. Below are a few ways to get your creative ideas going:
- Breakfast – Add them to a morning omelette or frittata.
- Lunch – Cut the flower into long strips and mix into a salad or add to the filling of a quesadilla.
- Snack - Stuff them with a blend of fresh herbs and cheeses and bake for a unique appetizer
- Dinner – Mix them into a summer risotto or soup; use them as a pretty, edible garnish
Brainstorm with the family and plan to try them a few different ways. Let the culinary ideas bloom in your kitchen. Share your favorite family creations with us!
Each issue of WakeMed Children’s Families First publication features family friendly tips, including home gardening and new for mixing new ingredients into your meals. The spring issue featured squash, and current issue features tomatoes – see a sneak peak here. You can sign up today to receive the next edition.