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.”

37 Responses to “Fried squash blossoms”

  1. 1 steven September 1, 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 September 1, 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 September 1, 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 BlackeyedSusan September 1, 2006 at 1:21 pm

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

  5. 5 sher September 1, 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!

  6. 6 bloglily September 1, 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.

  7. 7 Tanna September 2, 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.

  8. 8 Anna September 2, 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!

  9. 9 inadvertentgardener September 3, 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!

  10. 10 Lazy Gardens September 6, 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.

  11. 11 Rhonda September 11, 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.

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener September 11, 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.

  13. 13 Tynan October 12, 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! :)

  14. 14 inadvertentgardener October 12, 2006 at 10:52 pm

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

  15. 15 Kitt August 12, 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.

  16. 16 inadvertentgardener August 12, 2007 at 9:24 pm

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

  17. 17 surfnturf September 24, 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.

  18. 18 inadvertentgardener September 24, 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…

  19. 19 Cecilia February 14, 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!

  20. 20 inadvertentgardener February 19, 2008 at 7:51 am

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

  21. 21 sunny May 23, 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.

  22. 22 inadvertentgardener May 27, 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!

  23. 23 Jenny June 11, 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?

  24. 24 inadvertentgardener June 11, 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!

  25. 25 sara sanchez March 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    You can buy squash blossoms at the farmers markets…I know particularly at the Hillcrest one on Sundays and the La Mesa one on Fridays. I love the quesadillas, but tonight am attempting stuffed and fried! Yum.

  26. 26 sara March 6, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Sorry that was about finding them in San Diego

  27. 27 Kristine June 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Absolutely adorable blog. I was researching a method to cook my own blossoms, fresh from the store of course. A local market of mine was selling large bunches for $1.29. This is something I only seem to find this time of year. I quickly snatched up 4 bunches, as at Whole foods they are $6/bunch. Needless to say I have to cook the little buggers and had forgotten the amounts for the flour/egg mixture. I came across your blog and really enjoyed reading throughout it. Very well written and comical. (Also, I have a terrible fear of earwigs myself!)

    I look forward to following your blog. Thank you for the laugh, I needed it.

  28. 28 Lucille June 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Loved your squash blossom story. I have about 6 already showing in the garden. Here is my question. I am growing pattypan squash, not zucchini. Can the blossoms be used in the same way?
    Oh, and what is an earwig? Thanks!

  29. 29 Al Guzman August 18, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Could you please tell me where I can buy some squash blossoms?
    I was told they grow in Israel.
    I really appreciate your help.

    Al Guzman, Las Vegas, NV

  30. 30 Danielle May 2, 2010 at 11:56 am

    My farmer’s market squash came with blossoms attached. I had always wanted to try fried squash blossoms but never wanted to buy/make a whole box of them. These few turned out quite nicely. I substituted coconut oil and coconut meal for the other oil and flour, but tasted just as good as any other fried, cheesy goody. Thanks for the post!

  31. 31 SueCochran July 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you for this recipe for the fried squash blossom and the earwig story, I had went to my garden and picked some and looked up a recipe and here I am, and of all things, an earwig in one of them LOL I scretched also and thought of you so come back to thank you for the recipe and story.

  32. 32 Angelina August 25, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks :)

  33. 33 Crista September 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I loved this entry. It mixes both a non-fiction and a “teach me about frying blossoms” excerpt all in one. I’m going to try this…thanks for the great recipe!

  34. 34 Janet October 6, 2010 at 11:01 am


    Found your article after I picked the last of the crookneck squash before winter sets in. I didn’t want to throw away the blossoms that were still attached to the ends of the baby fruits so I separated them, and thanks to your article I twisted out the stigma from the center. Then I just pan fried them in a little canola oil, salt and pepper, along with the baby squashes. Both were delectable!

    On a side note, here in moist, coastal northern California, the earwigs are only overpopulated by the pill/sow bugs. Both crowd under pots in the garden and in mulch, etc. They’re everywhere except during the driest part of summer. The earwig pinchers are on their rear, and they curve them up when threatened, like a scorpion would. I’ve gotten over being scared of being pinched as you just have to exert a bit of strength and confidence over these bugs, but I have not gotten used the the smell that they make when they are squished. Ugh!

  1. 1 The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on September 1, 2006 at 1:03 pm
  2. 2 Earwig nation « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on October 5, 2006 at 6:15 am
  3. 3 True Epicure Says » Edible Flowers Trackback on July 2, 2008 at 7:50 pm

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