On the end of every growing zucchini or summer squash, you will find a vibrant yellow-orange flower — the blossom — which is a vegetable in its own right. Zucchini blossoms are fragile and delicately flavored, a little sweeter and more ephemeral than the flavor of the squash itself. The blooms are naturally soft, but pick those that look fresh, not droopy, with mostly closed buds.
They are most often served sauteed or battered and fried, and are frequently stuffed first, often with some sort of creamy cheese filling. They can also be baked, even steamed, or served raw, often in salads or as a garnish for pasta, risottos, soups or other cooked dishes. They can also be stuffed and enjoyed raw, which means you get to taste the subtle flavor without distraction.
Zucchini blossoms should be kept in the fridge, and really don’t last more than a day or two. If you find them at a farmers market, grab them, and cook them right away. Don’t wash them (that may not feel quite right, but they are so delicate that the minute you rinse them they will wilt). You do, however, want to remove the pistil or the stamens from the center (there are both male and female flowers that grow on the vegetable, both edible, but there is different plant anatomy inside). Some recipes suggest removing the stems, but that makes the blossoms even more fragile to handle, plus the stem is both edible and delicious. Zucchini blossoms contain vitamins A and C, and some iron and calcium, but they aren’t a major source of many nutrients, given their light critical mass.
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