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Fried squash blossoms

Weekend Herb BloggingI usually hold the Weekend Herb Blogging notification for later in the post, but this week, I’m the host for Kalyn’s fun weekly event. Please check back here Monday for the round-up of posts from around the world featuring a variety of herbs, vegetables and flowers. I guarantee you’re in for a treat.

If you want to submit something for Weekend Herb Blogging, please send it my way (genie at theinadvertentgardener dot com) by 3 p.m. Utah time on Sunday. Kalyn’s rules are here, so please check them out ahead of time, and please be sure to include a link back to my blog in your post.

And, without further ado, my Weekend Herb Blogging submission for this week:

For the first half of July, it seemed like all I did was fry things out of the garden. Fried green tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes made into sandwiches. And in June, I’d already fried up sage leaves in butter.

So it would make sense that, when presented with squash blossoms, I would treat them the same way I’d been treating all the other veggies and herbs: batter up.

But first I must explain. I am not a Fry Daddy kind of girl. I like me a good fried item, but I’ve purposely spent my life not attempting fried chicken and other such Wesson-bathed delicacies because I don’t want to deal with the grease disposal problem and because I feel like the easiest way to limit one’s intake of fried food is not to learn how to do it at home.

As with my no-gardening policy, though, it seems that this summer, all bets were off.

Steve and I went down to the farmer’s market one Saturday morning, and I worked the stands while he trailed behind me, uncaffeinated and a little overwhelmed by my quick work with the vegetables. We stopped in front of one stand that has been my summer source for baby zucchini and yellow squash, particularly since our plants have presented in a sub-par manner.

Unstuffed squash blossoms“Look,” I said. “Squash blossoms for $1.00 a box. Should we get some?”

Steve gave me a look that ever-so-clearly said, “Are you going to float those in a bowl or what? Why would you buy squash blossoms?” (We’ve been together long enough for me to be able to roughly translate the looks.)

“Do I need to clean them?” I asked the farmer.

“Not really,” he said. “They’re pretty clean. Just pull out the stuff in the middle, and they’ll be fine.”

“How do you recommend preparing them?”

“Some people sauté them up in butter. Some people stuff them like a pepper and then fry them,” he said. “It depends on what you like. Just make sure, if you don’t use them today, that you blow the bag full of air and then tie it off at the top and leave it in the fridge. Then they’ll be good until tomorrow.”

Prepared squash blossomsPressure=on. We weren’t (OK, I wasn’t) going to have time to make it up the learning curve on fried squash blossoms that particular Saturday, but an open block of time on Sunday beckoned.

A quick check of The Joy of Cooking (the only cookbook I own that includes very clear instructions on how to fry things) revealed a decent plan for a stuffing mixture: garlic, cheese, parsley, basil. Batter in egg and flour, and fry them up in a pan. Lucky for us, we had some leftover shredded Monterey Jack/cheddar mixture in the fridge, since I overbought for a midweek taco dinner.

On Sunday, I went out to the garden to check on things, and in the process of checking for zucchini, managed to knock a lovely squash blossom off the zucchini plant. For once, my clumsiness became an asset, and I carried it inside, planning to add them to my dollar-stand purchase.

Steve was in the living room when I picked up the blossom from our garden, untwisting it carefully to pull out the stamen. This is the point at which I should tell you that I lived in Germany, a.k.a. Land of the Earwigs That Rise From the Tub Like Little Stormtroopers, from age three to seven, and, in that EarwigLand, learned to hate the little buggers. I have always feared them and remain, to this day, irrationally afraid of one actually getting into my ear and pincing at my brain.

I had to tell you that because what to my wondering eyes did appear, but an earwig in the bottom of the blossom. I held the petals open and whacked the blossom upside the sink, hoping to dislodge the offending bug. I did, and it fell into the sink, where I promptly washed it down the drain.

I let my heart slow down a little, then began again, untwisting the blossom, reaching in with my fingertips for the stamen, feeling little feet against my finger.

“OH MY GOD!!!!” I yelled, throwing the blossom into the sink. I picked it back up and opened it and, sure enough, another earwig, this one in possession of a cloaking device, crawled around in the bottom of the blossom.

I tried the same bang-the-flower-against-the-sink technique, and it fell out. I washed it down the sink and opened the flower petals again, looking very, very carefully to be sure there Were. No. Earwigs.

Meanwhile, the intrepid, temporarily invisible second bug climbed back up the drain and out into the sink. I screamed like a little girl.

“Do I need to come in there and help?” Steve called from the living room.

“MMMRRRPFF!” I yelled, and then turned on the hot water as fast as I could, splashing the earwig until it plunged, headfirst, back down the drain. I let the water run as long as I could, until thoughts of the millions of people in the world without clean, running water crowded out my hatred for earwigs and I was able to turn off the faucet.

At this point, I threw away my little garden blossom and went wholly with the farmer’s blossoms. My thinking? No earwig would have survived the refrigerated balloon treatment we’d put the blossoms through overnight. So there.

Fried squash blossomsFried Squash Blossoms (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

10 to 12 fresh squash blossoms
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. shredded Monterey Jack/cheddar mix
1/2 c. grated Romano cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
A few grinds of black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Approximately 1 1/2 c. flour

Mix the garlic, salt, cheese, herbs and pepper together in a bowl. Remove the pistils from the blossoms and stuff them with the mixture. Twist the tops to hold them closed.

Heat about 1/2 inch of olive (not extra-virgin) or canola oil in a heavy frying pan or cast-iron skillet. Dip the blossoms one at a time into the beaten egg and then into the flour. Fry them three or four at a time, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown on each side. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve immediately with marinara sauce for dipping.


As we sat on the porch, eating our delicious (and earwig-free) blossoms, Steve looked over at me and said, “Fried squash blossoms? How did you think of frying squash blossoms? How do you come up with this stuff?”

“I just hear about things,” I said with a smile. “I spend a lot of time on the Internet.”

36 Comments on “Fried squash blossoms”

  1. #1 steven
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 8:54 am

    Them internets come in handy, ‘cept when the tubes git all clogged.

    I love fried squash blossoms, but I hate frying at home. I’ll hold off until I get one of those bio-diesel cars.

  2. #2 Kalyn
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 9:22 am

    I’m impressed. Despite an abundance of squash blossoms through the years this is something I’ve never attempted making, or even eaten. It does sound interesting. I’m thinking they must be good or there wouldn’t be so many people making them.

  3. #3 Dori
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 9:39 am

    This looks interesting. I made a squash and green savory dinner tart this week, it’s up on my blog right now. I’d enter if it I could, but I did it for another contest, howver this weekend herb blogging thing looks very informative – I’d love to read what others do with their stuff.

  4. #4 The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    [...] Fried squash blossoms [...]

  5. #5 BlackeyedSusan
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    I love reading your blog. You’re hysterical! I’m crying right now over your battle with the earwig.

  6. #6 sher
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Hee!! that was hilarious! I hate earwigs–the name alone gives me pause. But, boy howdy, it was worth all your trauma to make those fabulous looking squash blossoms. When it comes to frying, you the man!

  7. #7 bloglily
    on Sep 1st, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    All my cooking life I’ve wondered about squash blossoms. I had no idea what they looked like, nor that frying them could be so straightforward. This is why I love the internets.

    Will you be doing anything with baby artichokes at any point? That’s another thing, like squash blossoms I can never quite figure out. It’s the absence of a choke that throws me.

    I’m with everyone, earwigs are so truly awful. You’re utterly normal to despise them as you do. Ick.

  8. #8 Tanna
    on Sep 2nd, 2006 at 3:46 am

    Wow, would I love a blossom like that.
    I’ll pass on the earwigs also – but it’s wonderful you can make it so funny.

  9. #9 Anna
    on Sep 2nd, 2006 at 7:17 am

    i don’t think i’ve ever even seen an earwig before, but i understand totally irrational fears from childhood. i don’t like birds much after being attacked by magpies as a kid and having been pooped on one too many times.

    but i do love fried zucchini flowers.

    looking forward to the WHB round-up. “see” you then!

  10. #10 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 3rd, 2006 at 8:02 am

    Steven, I found this summer that I rarely needed as much oil as the recipe said — that was one good thing. But yes, the oil disposal problem is definitely an issue.

    Kalyn, they were good, but something I’d make occasionally rather than regularly, I think.

    Dori, I saw your entry about the tart, which looks delicious. I was thinking about trying a version of it myself.

    Blackeyed Susan, thank you! Glad you stopped by. A day I make someone weep is a successful day. :-)

    Bloglily, every time I get hold of artichokes, I always just steam ‘em and dip ‘em in butter. Haven’t worked with baby artichokes, but perhaps that’s a challenge for whenever I can find them in the store. I’m pretty sure I won’t try to grow them…

    Tanna, maybe the earwigs add protein? Still, I’m with you. Out, out, damn earwig!

    Anna, if you ever see one, you’ll know what it is immediately. They’re nasty little critters with pincers at their heads. See you at the round-up!

  11. #11 Lazy Gardens
    on Sep 6th, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    In Mexico they put the squash blossoms in chicken soup. Just chop them coarsely and pour boiling broth over them.

  12. #12 Rhonda
    on Sep 11th, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    I love fried squash blossoms! and your earwig incident was funny. Steven, I save all the leftover oil and when I get enough I make handmade soap.

  13. #13 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 11th, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Lazy Gardens, interesting — I bet that’s really tasty.

    Rhonda, soap, huh? That’s a great use for the leftover oil.

  14. #14 Earwig nation « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Oct 5th, 2006 at 6:15 am

    [...] Some might say that I maligned Germany in my post about Fried Squash Blossoms. Some might say that I was, in fact, unfair in my evaluation of Germany and its abundance of earwigs. [...]

  15. #15 Tynan
    on Oct 12th, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    I bought some squash blossoms at a farmers’ market yesterday and had no idea how to cook them. Google brought me here. Good story, excellent recipe, and I’m glad you included the bit about the earwig so I knew to look for bugs! :)

  16. #16 inadvertentgardener
    on Oct 12th, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks, Tynan! Enjoy the blossoms and yes…watch out for earwigs… :-)

  17. #17 Kitt
    on Aug 12th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks for the warning on earwigs. I hate ‘em too!

    I just bought a bunch of squash blossoms and found your blog while looking around for a good recipe. I’ll be sure to rinse and whack well.

  18. #18 inadvertentgardener
    on Aug 12th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Kitt, excellent — as long as you follow that earwig-ridding suggestion, you should be good to go. Good luck!

  19. #19 surfnturf
    on Sep 24th, 2007 at 2:15 am

    My wife loves squash blossoms. The mexican grocery stores here in San Diego sell them in bulk bins. Sometimes we fry them up with just a light batter, without stuffing, just 40 seconds or so.

  20. #20 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 24th, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Surfnturf, wow…you’d think they’d kind of wilt in a big bin, but they are definitely delicious. And I bet you can get them in San Diego most the year, right? Sigh…I love San Diego…

  21. #21 Cecilia
    on Feb 14th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Surf N’ turf:
    where in San Diego did you get the blossoms?

    I was trying to find a store in SD to make
    “Squash Blossoms Quesadillas” (which is another way to eat them) and as Tynan, Google brought me here…

    Please give me the specific store, thank you!

  22. #22 inadvertentgardener
    on Feb 19th, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Cecilia, I’d love to know, too — sounds pretty fabulous! And those quesadillas…yum!

  23. #23 sunny
    on May 23rd, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    where o where do i get squash blossoms in san diego on a friday?? i generally buy them at the farmers market in del mar…
    i will have to try your cheeses mixture…i usually use chevre.

  24. #24 inadvertentgardener
    on May 27th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Sunny, I know I’m answering this a bit late for you, but did you try your local Latino markets — they’re often a good resource. I like the idea of trying chevre!

  25. #25 Jenny
    on Jun 11th, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I truly enjoyed reading your story about the squash blossoms. I just had to laugh!!

    Anyway, when do you actually pick the blossoms from the squash?

  26. #26 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 11th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Jenny, that is an excellent question! You definitely pick them before the squash fruit starts forming. I found this excellent resource on harvesting them while I was poking around on the Internet — I hope it helps you out!

  27. #27 True Epicure Says » Edible Flowers
    on Jul 2nd, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    [...] haven’t tried fried squash blossoms yet, but they sure sound tasty. I was reading about wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup in a magazine [...]

  28. #28 Lauren
    on Jun 21st, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Well this is a new one to me!! You can EAT squash blossoms?? I laughed and laughed at your post as I am an avid earwig-hater. We have them hear in the midwest all summer long — they are so gross!! Loved your narrative and now I’m curious — and may even attempt these myself at some point . . . if I can get the earwigs out of my mind!

  29. #29 Terry The Gardner....
    on Jul 9th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I loved the story too. I have a ton of squash planted in the yard and would have never used them. Thanks!

  30. #30 Terri
    on Jul 15th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I was actually searching on where to buy squash flowers in July in Ohio and found your blog. Very funny. I had stuffed fried pumpkin flowers when I was in Rome……delicious. If I can find them I plan on making them for an Italian dinner party….bug free I hope.

  31. #31 Jason
    on Sep 18th, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I am a novice cook, that picked up some squash blossoms at the farmers market. Made this recipe, and they were great. I would recommend making the same day, as mine were a day old, and kind of falling apart.

  32. #32 YOU CAN GROW THAT: squash isn’t just a child’s game! « GardenDishes
    on Apr 4th, 2012 at 2:34 am

    [...] a salad with a yellow squash bloom for a lovely edible garnish.  Folks here along the Gulf Coast eat them fried, too.  (I might try that this summer since my daughter found a gluten-free breadcrumb mix for me. [...]

  33. #33 Anita
    on Jun 12th, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Back in the ’50s, as a young child, my mother would make fried pumpkin blossoms and I loved them. I have just begun to grow a large zucchini patch for the main purpose of having a bountiful harvest of blossoms as well as the fruit. The first few I have merely rinsed with water and then coated with flour with a little sea salt and pepper. Fried them crisp in a little canola oil. Takes only a few minutes–delicious! I will make this cheese-stuffed fried version today for our lunch break on the porch. Thanks for the simple but scrumptious looking recipe.

  34. #34 lasingparuparo
    on Jul 21st, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Just picked some squash blossoms and in addition to a small army of gnats there were several bees inside them… at that point we decided to toss the lot after getting a vacuum cleaner and sucking up several bees and running around like chickens with their heads cut off… needless to say squash blossoms is something we might have to prepare more thoroughly for (haz mat suits included)

  35. #35 diana
    on Jun 22nd, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    i loved your article. i found it while looking for a way to get rid of the bugs. i’m trying BAKED squash blossoms this time [ a recipie i found online]. my blossoms are always full of ants [which are the main pollinators for the squash family] which are harder to dislodge than earwigs. have you ever accidently tasted an ant? AAAGGGHHH!!!!!! the only way i can figure out how to get rid of them is to open the flowers and dip them in soapy water then thoroughly rinse, then let dry on a towel. [works GREAT for artichokes and brassicas] but the flowers get really messed up, they’re sooo delicate. these attempts are a great way to get ahead on the overabundance of zucchini.

  36. #36 The First Step | Seasonal Cooking In Seattle
    on Jun 25th, 2013 at 7:43 am

    [...] Dish: Fried Squash Blossoms by The Inadvertent Gardener, an adaptation from The Joy of Cooking. While I had never heard of [...]

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