Squash blossoms stem from, you guessed it, squashes. The flowers from either winter or summer squash are edible and delicious, known as squash blossoms and available in varying shades of yellow and orange. Their flavor is light and airy - as the blossoms are themselves - and hint of the squash from whence it came. Squash blossoms can be used for much more than pretty garnish; they are large enough for all manner of cooking, including stuffing!
Squash blossoms are extremely perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a day. Hence, you will seldom find them at supermarkets where produce is flown in from all around the world. Typically, you have to come by these bright and fragile delicacies at your local farmers market or even better, in your own garden. Squash blossoms are naturally soft and somewhat limp, but choose those that look fresh, with closed buds.
It's true: Squash blossoms can be used as a beautiful garnish for nearly anything, from soups to salads to entrees. But, how about getting a bit more creative? Squash blossoms can be battered and fried to crowd-pleasing awe and delight. Make them really astounding by stuffing them pre-fry with ingredients such as soft cheese or breadcrumbs. Consider baking them instead of batter-dipping and frying for a healthier version. Squash blossoms also make a gourmet treat atop a pizza. Where will you be using squash blossoms this season?
Being as light and delicate as they are, squash blossoms aren't a highly nutritional food. One cup of squash blossoms only has five calories! It also has one gram of carbohydrates and less than one gram of protein, just to give you the picture. That said, squash blossoms are high in calcium and iron and especially high in vitamins C and A. So, they aren't just lookers.
As we said before, the exteme fragility and high perishability of squash blossoms means your own backyard is the best place to bring this flower into your culinary repertoire. Otherwise, it's your local farmers market. And we always go for the organic buds when it comes to squash blossoms, especially because they're delicateness makes them hard to wash, really at all. Remember though, even a good washing is never fool proof when it comes to pesticide residues.