I grew up in an Italian-American family, which meant many things, not the least of which being that, on Sundays, we always ate some sort of pasta and meatballs for dinner. And during the summer months, if she had them on hand, my mother would make squash blossoms—fritters made from the bright orange flowers that grow on top of summer squash plants.
My uncle grew zucchini in his garden and he would gather up the flowers and bring them to her by the bagful. These blossoms were truly a treat—one I had almost forgotten about until I saw the flowers for sale at the farmers market last summer. While I’d had zucchini blossoms at foodie friendly restaurants, none ever tasted like my mother’s. So I decided I would replicate those battered buds I had enjoyed so much as a child.
First, squash flowers are entirely edible, though you should gently open the flower, remove the pistil, and rinse them to make sure there aren’t any insects lurking between the petals. Trimming the stems is also a good idea. The flowers grow on top of summer squash plants but only the female flora actually produce fruit. The flowers need to be picked before the fruit develops so, if you know your local farmer, ask him to save you the flowers. Otherwise these delicious delicacies might be thrown in the trash, which would be a shame, indeed.
My mom made her blossoms with Bisquick, which you can also do, but I prefer to make my own batter. I found this recipe on The Kitchn and have made it several times with excellent results. It mimics the consistency of Bisquick and is simple to throw together. Just be sure to use your blossoms immediately, as they don’t save well. Some people like to stuff their flowers with ricotta cheese, but I don’t feel this is necessary. The blossoms are tasty enough on their own. I plan on getting another batch of flowers this weekend and I can’t wait to fry them up before the season is over!
Get more tips and recipes for seasonal eats at Made By Michelle.