July 1, 2012

F r i e d * * Z u c c h i n i * * B l o s s o m s

Zucchini blossoms.
They are completely edible.
I've only recently learned they were such a delicacy to the palate. 
Of course, I have always admired the glorious, gigantic blooms amongst my bountiful squash plants, but I  never anticipated they would show up on my dinner plate . . . let alone, be battered and fried. 

Fried zucchini blossoms . . . what a wonderful concept . . . yet so foreign a concept to me . . . as I have never been tempted by the eating of flora. Somehow, someway, I had the courage to try such a thing, and I am oh-so-glad I did. Is it NOT fun to step out of our comfort zone once in a while? 
I say yes!

I am ever so grateful that Kretchmann's Farm put these tender, young blossoms in our little wooden crate, as I would have never ventured forward to trying this if not given a little push! Such an easy thing really. Searching the net, I found a simple recipe for batter . . . laden with beer, that is . . . well, just a 1/2 cup of beer . . . not so much laden . . . just enough to give a magnificent, yet subtle infused flavor. 

Well, it was now or never. Another day contemplating the eating of flowers would have surely been the demise of the blossoms! I gently wiped each with a lightly dampened towel . . . careful to not tear. I whipped up the creamy batter, scooped many a dollop of Crisco into my cast iron skillet over a medium high  flame....melting it down and rising it to temperature. I plucked the stamen from the center of each flower,  then dunked each into the batter. Gently, one at a time, placing each coated blossom into the sizzling oil . . . cooking a minute or two on each side.  Once they were light golden and crisp, I plucked each blossom from the hot oil and let them rest and drain on a torn piece of paper grocery bag. A sprinkling of salt and pepper and wa-laa, they were ready for devouring. 

Wow, don't they look delicious!! 
I let them cool a couple minutes and then bravely . . . well, brave for me . . . took a bite.
And . . .
I really liked it!
I found most of the flavor to be at the base of the flower.
It tasted just like zucchini!

I will  definitely make these again!
I am hooked now!

If you find yourself eager to fry a few of these babies . . . you may find them at  farmer's markets or your own garden, of course. There are male and female flowers and both are edible. You'll want to pick them when they are tender and young and have barely blossomed. Just be careful you aren't picking female flowers before they've had the chance to bear fruit. The male flowers are safe to pick because they will not bear fruit. They will have a thinner, longer stem. The female flowers will have a thick stem and a tiny bulb at the bottom of the flower . . . which then grows into a zucchini. I have read that once the zucchini is sufficiently growing, it is safe to pick the blossom without worry of halting it's growth. 

I hope I have inspired you to give this summer-time delicacy a go! 
Some of you may be old pros at cooking zucchini blossoms.
Some of you may even have fond memories of your grandmother cooking these.
Whatever the case, let me know.
I am very interested to hear about it!

Recipe for batter:
1/2  cup water
1/2  cup beer
2  beaten eggs
1  cup flour
Mix well and dunk blossoms in batter and fry in oil.
Drain and sprinkle with salt and pepper.