This zucchini flower recipe is a traditional cucina povera recipe from Italy. Minimal ingredients with fresh squash blossoms are fried, and the result is nothing short of marvelous!
When my brother was a little boy, he would wake up on a summer morning and run out to the garden and pick all the male zucchini flowers he could find. He’d run back to the house and present them to my mother.
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No, he wasn’t trying to earn points by being the most thoughtful child, he wanted them for lunch! He loved them so much that it was the first thing on his mind upon awakening.
In case you aren’t familiar with zucchini flowers or squash flowers or courgette blossoms, or whatever you want to call the flowers from this plant, let me answer a few questions. Those of you who already love fried zucchini flowers can scroll down to the recipe.
You may also enjoy this baked zucchini recipe from my Nonna Chiarina!
What are Fried Zucchini Flowers / Squash Blossoms?
Fried squash or zucchini flowers are the blooms on zucchini and squash plants. In order not to disturb the fruit that grows, we only eat the male blossoms (which don’t produce a zucchini/courgette). More details are provided below. When made using this recipe, they are cleaned, dipped in batter and pan fried for a tasty appetizer!
Can I Eat Squash Flowers and Zucchini Blossoms?
As you can deduce from what I wrote above, the answer is YES! Not only are they edible, but they are incredibly delicious!
How do the Zucchini Flowers Taste?
Honestly, they taste like nothing else I’ve ever had. They do not have a floral taste to them as some other edible flowers do. If you want to know, there’s only one way to find out!
Where to find Zucchini Flowers or Squash Blossoms for this Recipe.
That all depends on where you live. As you can see from the photo above, zucchini flowers are plentiful at the markets in Italy when they’re in season. However, if you’re like me and live in the US, sometimes you can find them. I’ve seen them at farmer’s markets here in LA, and even saw them in a grocery store once! I was so excited, but I will warn you, this is rare.
Try this easy zucchini flower frittata, too!
Your best bet, if you live somewhere where these glorious blossoms aren’t sold, is to grow them (if you have a garden spot), or ask a friend who grows zucchini to share! Many people aren’t even aware that zucchini flowers are not only edible, but delicious when battered, and/or stuffed and fried (either pan fried or deep fried).
If you’re cooking your pizza sauce, you’re doing it all wrong!
Do Zucchini Flowers Become Zucchini? How to Choose a Blossom for Cooking”
This is actually an important question if you are growing zucchini for the vegetable, and the answer is yes and no. When picking squash blossoms to cook, look for the blooms without a baby zucchini at the end of it. These are what I referred to as the male flowers. They will bloom, wilt and die; no fruit will come of them, but they help fertilize the zucchini flowers so the plant will bear fruit. The female flowers are also edible, but stick to the males so you don’t disturb the fruit production.
Here’s an Italian zucchini recipe to try!
How to Prepare and Serve Squash and Zucchini Flowers
I’m glad you asked! Let’s get to the recipe from my Nonna Chiarina. This is a traditional and authentic way to prepare the fried zucchini flowers. They can also be stuffed with cheese and anchovies, battered then fried, which is a traditional Roman way of preparing them.
My Zia Iolanda made fried zucchini blossoms when I was visiting her in Italy this past June. She deep fried them, which you can also do, but I just pan fry them. They’re like zucchini flower fritters, for lack of a better name.
Tips for Making this Zucchini Flower Recipe & Frequently Asked Questions.
Can you stuff zucchini blossoms?
Yes! Check out my recipe for mozzarella cheese stuffed zucchini flowers!
Can you eat the squash blossom stems?
Yes, the stems are edible, so no worries about eating the stem and the stamen and pistil, too. I remove them, but you don’t have to.
What’s the difference between a squash blossom and a zucchini flower?
Not much, except it’s just a matter of distinguishing the two. Squash as a term of vegetables includes zucchini, however, we usually refer to the yellow ones as squash (often “yellow squash”). The blossoms from both plants work perfectly fine. I’ve even cooked pumpkin flowers.
Have a glut of zucchini or courgette flowers? Use them in this frittata recipe.
Can I eat the blossoms raw?
Absolutely, zucchini flowers are an edible flower.
Can I refrigerate the blossoms before using them in a recipe?
For best results, pick the flowers in the morning when they are wide open and perky, and try to cook them as soon as possible. Zucchini blossoms are extremely delicate and will start to close and shrivel quickly. Technically, you can refrigerate them, but I don’t advise it. It will be more trouble than necessary. You can also stick the cut flowers in a glass of water (like flowers in a vase).
Now, let’s get to the recipe!
How to Make Traditional Italian
Fried Zucchini Flowers (Squash Blossoms)
recipe by Christina Conte (from my Nonna Chiarina) serves 4 as a starter/appetizer
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
What You’ll Need
- milk (omit for vegan/dairy free)
- zucchini/squash/courgette blossoms
- oil for frying
Note: the amount of batter is more than you will need. Also, my Nonna never added anything to the flour and water mixture, but if you’d like to use sparkling water or a pinch of baking soda, go ahead).
Clean the Blossoms.
Remove the pistil and stem of the zucchini flowers, then rinse gently and dry on paper towel. It’s okay if they tear a little or you open them completely. It’s easier to make sure there’s no dirt or bugs inside this way.
Make the Batter.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl which you can dip the flowers into. Add the milk, and then the water a little at a time and beat with a whisk or fork. Keep adding the water until a thick consistency is reached. Beat well for another minute or two. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes or longer.
Dip the Squash Flowers.
Preheat the oil in the frying pan. It should be hot when adding the flowers. You can test it with a drop of batter if you’re unsure.
Dip the blossoms in batter, coating well but allow a bit of the excess batter to drip.
Fry the Flowers.
Heat oil in the pan. Add the battered flowers to the hot oil in the pan (if you’re tired of buying non-stick pans, Scanpan CS+ is for you. I LOVE these pans). Again, you don’t have to deep fry these. Pan frying in a little olive oil is just as good.
Fry until cooked on one side, then turn and continue to cook until ready.
Remove and place on paper towel lined plate.
Best eaten while still hot/warm.
- 1/3 cup (57 g) flour
- 2 good pinches of salt
- about 3 oz (90 ml) water (sparkling water is optional)
- 1 tsp milk (omit for vegan or lactose intolerance)
- 8 to 10 zucchini blossoms (or as many as you want to make)
- olive oil for frying
Clean the Blossoms.
- Remove the pistil and stem of the flowers, then rinse gently and dry on paper towel. It's okay if they tear a little or you open them completely. It's easier to make sure there's no dirt or bugs inside this way.
Make the Batter.
- Put the flour and salt in a bowl which you can dip the flowers into. Add the milk, and then the water a little at a time and beat with a whisk or fork.
- Keep adding the water until a thick consistency is reached. Beat well for another minute or two.
- Set aside to rest for 5 minutes or longer.
Dip the Flowers.
- Preheat the oil in the frying pan. It should be hot when adding the flowers. You can test it with a drop of batter if you're unsure.
- Dip the flowers into the batter, coating well, then add to the hot oil in the pan.
Fry the Flowers.
- Add the flowers to the hot oil in the pan. Again, you don't have to deep fry these. Pan frying in a little olive oil is just as good.
- Fry until cooked on one side, then turn and continue to cook until ready.
- Remove and place on paper towel lined plate. Best eaten while still hot/warm.
- If you used the JUMP TO RECIPE button, you missed my cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms recipe!
- Note: the amount of batter is more than you will need. Also, my Nonna never added anything to the flour and water mixture, but if you'd like to use sparkling water or a pinch of baking soda, it will make the batter a little lighter).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 155Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 83mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is only estimated.
Have a glut of zucchini? Here’s a delicious recipe from Maria at She Loves Biscotti!
So, what do you call these blossoms? I call them zucchini flowers.
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