What exactly are squash blossoms? Are they literally the flowers of the squash plant? Yes, they are.
There are a lot of edible flowers and squash blossoms are just among them
The interesting thing about squash blossoms is that they may be male or female. The male blossoms have thinner stems; the female ones have a bulge right beneath the blossom. Bulge? Yes, the ovary where a new squash is starting to grow.
Both male and female flowers are edible. In farming, the substantial difference is that by harvesting the female blossoms for cooking, there will be less squash that will grow to maturity.
How are squash blossoms prepared for cooking?
First, cut off the flowers from the stems. Leave about an inch or two of the stem attached to the flower. Discard the tougher lower portions of the stems but keep the leaves — they are edible.
See where the arrow points? That’s the stamen with pollen sticking all over it. Pull it out and discard. It’ll come off easily.
Rinse the flowers (and the leaves) and they’re ready to go into the pot or pan.
How are squash blossoms cooked? Lots of ways. The most popular way seems to be to stuff them with cheese, dredge them in flour and egg, and fry them. Yep, cheese-stuffed squash fritters. Or add them to a vegetable soup, like I did. White corn and vegetables soup with squash blossoms.
Updated from a post originally published in 1/10/2013