Fried Squash Blossoms

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One of the things I remember about growing up is my Mom’s huge garden – especially in the summer.  There were tomato plants, strawberries, eggplant, peppers, raspberries, swiss chard and cucumbers.  Oh…and the dreaded green bean plants!  Ugh, I was always in charge of picking the green beans as a kid.  Those things grew like weeds, had to be picked everyday and always had bugs crawling on them.  And as a kid terrified by any insect (even ants) this was NOT a fun chore.  Granted, now a days, I’d kill for a garden – even with weed-like green bean plants or bugs. squashblossoms5

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Besides the green beans, my Mom always has those huge summer squash plants.  And each year, in addition to boat loads of ginormous zucchini, we always got to have squash flowers too!  Zucchini and other squash plants produce flowers that usually turn into…well a zucchini.  But some flowers don’t – they just stay flowers.  There’s some way to tell.  But I forget, of course. squashblossom10

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My mom would pick the flowers that were deemed as “non-zucchini producing” and would fry them up for light summer-time dinners.  Oh…they were so good!  She dipped them in a crepe-like batter which crisps up nicely, but wasn’t heavy enough to weigh down the delicate flowers.  They always turned out so crispy and salty!  Who knew, flowers could be so delicious! squashblossom11

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squashblossom9 If you come across these summer delicacies at your farmer’s market, I’ve got a few tips to help you pick out the best flowers and turn them into a delicious summer dish!

  • When choosing squash blossoms, make sure they are bright neon orange with no bruising, sliminess or wilting.
  • In regards to storing these brightly colored flowers, the best way is in the fridge.  However, I highly suggest cooking or eating them the day you purchase them.  They wilt quite fast and lose any “crunchiness” they have.
  • Do not run these flowers under water to clean!  Just wipe off any visible dirt or grit with a moistened paper towel.  And only do so immediately before cooking.  Also check inside the blossom too!
  • If you’re frying them, you can either follow my batter recipe below or choose one of your favorites.  But because these flowers are really delicate, a light weight batter is best.  Don’t use a heavy batter like a pancake batter.
  • Squash blossoms can also be eaten raw.  I’ve never tried it, but I bet they’d add a beautiful accent to a summer salad!

squashblossom12 I hope you grab a box of these beautiful flowers if you see them at your local market!  I highly suggest trying out my recipe for Cheese Stuffed Fried Blossoms.  It really hits the spot!  When you bite into them, you get the crunch on the outside and then a melty, gooey and cheesy inside.  SO good!  The best summer-time dinner or appetizer.  Scoop up a box of squash flowers next time you’re at your local market – they’ll be gone soon!  Enjoy!

Fried Squash Blossoms:
Ingredients:

  • 2 pints squash blossoms
  • 1/3 up finely chopped mozzarella
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt – to taste
  • 1/2-1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions:

  1. Batter:  In a blender or food processor, combine the flour, eggs, water and olive oil.  Process until completely smooth.
  2. Pour into a semi-deep bowl.
  3. Check over the squash blossoms for dirt or other debris.   Carefully open each blossom and stuff in a few pieces of the mozzarella.  Do not over stuff as you do not want the cheese oozing out while you fry the blossoms.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy bottom or cast iron skillet over medium high-high heat.  Allow to heat up for 5-10 minutes (you can check if it’s hot enough by inserting the end of a wooden spoon into the oil.  If small bubbles appear around the spoon, the oil is ready).
  5. Gently dip the cheese-stuffed blossoms in the batter.  Allow excess batter to drip off.
  6. Carefully place 3-5 flowers into the hot oil.  BE CAREFUL – the flowers have a somewhat high water content and will spit and splatter once they hit the hot oil.  It’s good to wear long sleeves and have a splatter guard handy while frying.
  7. Fry flowers for about 30 seconds per side – or until golden brown.
  8. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Sprinkle with salt immediately after the flowers come out of the oil.
  9. Serve hot!

You tell me!  Have you ever tried squash blossoms?  What’s your favorite summer-time vegetable?

6 Comments

  1. carrian

    June 13, 2013 at 12:27 am

    YES! I’ve been hearing all about these, but I’ve yet to try them. Can’t wait!

    • mewinebrenner

      June 13, 2013 at 8:20 am

      These are really fun to use! And super pretty! I hope you try them out!

  2. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    June 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Every summer I intend to make these and every summer I end up forgetting. Maybe this will be the year! I just pinned your post, so I have no excuse. 🙂

    • mewinebrenner

      June 16, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Hope you will!

  3. Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian

    June 20, 2013 at 1:24 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous! They remind me of something similar I had in Greece last year, stuffed with feta and mint then deep fried in a tempura style batter. Your batter looks so lovely and light. I can never get batter to do that for me!!!

    • mewinebrenner

      June 20, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Mmmm feta and mint sounds like a really great combo for these! I will definitely have to try this next time!

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