A Different Part of The Pumpkin

I think by now most of you are well aware that I am extremely fond of squash, no matter how you cook it. However, I’d never tried the other parts of the plant – the vines and flowers are edible, too! On a trip to the Farmer’s Market I found some pumpkin blossoms for sale at the Hmong Farmer’s stall and decide to give them a try. They were certainly pretty:
They were also surprisingly fragrant, with a sweet scent. (Yes, I know they’re flowers, but not ALL flowers smell in a way humans can recognize)

I researched a few recipes online and ended up using this one – I liked the idea that my blossoms would be like a fritter, and it seemed easy to do with the ingredients I had on hand.

I mixed up the batter:
and quickly realized it was waaaaaay too thick, so I added a bit more water.

Into the hot pan they went!

In a matter of moments I had a pile of golden brown flowers. Without being too obnoxious, I’m going to admit that they looked amazing. I salted them and took a bite.
Fried Pumpkin Blossoms

The first bite was mostly breading, with a sort of softness in the middle where the petal was. Pleasant, but unexciting. I got to the end of the flower, and here something went very wrong and very right at the same time.

You see, if you look at the recipe I used, it simply tells you to dip your flowers, as is, into the batter. And so I did. And if you’ve ever made fried pumpkin flowers before, you are shaking your head at my mistake. If not, I’ll tell you what happened when I got to the end of that flower: there was a war going on inside my mouth.

On one side of the war was this lovely sweet taste, like honeysuckle. The very essence of flowers. On the other side was a horrifying bitterness, mouth-drying in its intensity. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

A bit of further research solved the problem. Here’s another recipe. Do you see a difference?

The “green spikes” the recipe above is telling you to remove are the stamens of the flower. They’re not always green, exactly – the ones in my flowers were more yellow – but they should definitely be removed. It’s the male reproductive organ of a flower, meaning it’s chock-full of pollen. POLLEN IS BITTER, MY FRIENDS. Once I realized my mistake I removed them from the rest of the flowers (easier to do before you bread and cook them obviously) and they were fine, even delicious. The stem ends were a bit nutty and crispy, there was that sweet flower taste, it was all good.

In future I’d like to do them correctly, and maybe try them stuffed! Any of you ever done this? What do you recommend for the stuffing?


2 responses to “A Different Part of The Pumpkin

  1. oh Baby, squash flower are another Sacchetti/Goog household favorite. In fact, half the reason I grow squash is to get the flowers (note: check for bees if harvesting yourself)! We also fry them but add a little something extra.
    Put a bit of cheese and if you have it and like it, anchovy in the center of the flower. Make a very simple batter of flour and water. Coat flowers and fry. When done, salt the outside lightly and enjoy. These rarely even make it to the table!

  2. That looks delicious. I’ve only made these once. I need to make them more often!

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