Did you know …That squash blossoms aren’t just pretty to look at; they taste good, too.
As squash begins to come into season, gardens and farm fields sport an array of attractive deep yellow blossoms. Some of these blossoms are female and will become pollinated, which will then lead to the squash fruits themselves. However, some of the blossoms also are male and will produce nothing in the way of fruit but will still a beautiful short-season product. Look for these blossoms in July and early August at the farmers’ market.
Squash blossoms taste good in salads, such as the preparation from Martha Stewart that Friends of the Market volunteer Pattie Garrett (author of the My Saratoga Kitchen blog), tried last weekend after going on a mad – and successful – hunt for squash blossoms at the Saratoga Market. They also can be sautéed in oil or butter, or stuffed with breadcrumbs, herbs, and cheese and then baked lightly.
To use squash blossoms, Tabitha Alterman recommends for Mother Earth News, that you trim the stem to about half an inch, remove the stamens inside, and then gently rinse the flower in cool water and pat dry. The blossoms aren’t exactly a nutritional powerhouse, but they are quite low in calories (about five calories per cup). They are a colorful and exceptionally great garnish to many summer dishes.
If you buy squash blossoms, use them promptly. Their delicate leaves and slightly sticky texture make them a highly perishable item.
Photos by Pattie Garrett
Summer Squash Salad with Blossoms, Ricotta and Thyme Oil
• 1 generous handful of fresh thyme sprigs
• ½ cup olive oil
• ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 baby zucchini, cut very thin, or thinly shaved on a mandolin (or use a spriralizer for ribbons)
• 4 baby patty pan squashes cut very thin or thinly shaved on a mandolin
• 4 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half crosswise ( 1 cup)
• 6 zucchini blossoms, halved or quartered if large
• ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large, plus more for sprinkling
• 3 ounces fresh ricotta cheese (1/3 cup)
1. Place thyme on a cutting board, and bruise with the dull edge of a knife. Place thyme and oil in a small saucepan. Cover and heat over medium heat until small bubbles appear. Turn off heat and steep thyme, covered, 20 minutes. Discard sprigs, leaving loose thyme leaves in oil. Whisk together lemon zest and juice and 2 Tablespoons thyme oil. Save extra oil for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
2. Combine half the dressing with the zucchini, pattypan squashes, tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, and basil. Divide half the salad between 2 plates and dot with ricotta. Drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with basil.
225 calories, 6 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar (0 added sugar), 18 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 16 milligrams cholesterol, 32 milligrams sodium