Squash blossoms are a summer farmer’s market find! You may pass by those little airy flowers and think that they’re sitting there for decoration however they are, in fact, edible.
Squash blossoms can be prepared several different ways and I decided to stuff and bake mine into a frittata.
What is a squash blossom?
A squash blossom is the soft, paper-like flower that you’ll find growing attached to the top of a summer squash or zucchini. The female squash blossom, when fertilized by the male squash blossom, quickly produces a miniature squash.
With our quick definition of the Paleo diet: eat plants, animals, nuts & seeds – squash blossoms fall conveniently into that first category of plants and therefore squash blossoms are Paleo. :)
Where to find squash blossoms
You might have a hard time finding squash blossoms. First look at your local farmer’s market or talk to a farmer nearby who grows squash. If he hasn’t brought them with him to sell, he may have some to bring next time around.
The problem with selling squash blossoms is they are quick to perish, so grocery stores tend to not carry them, and when they do, they may only be around for a short period of time. I remember seeing some at our local Mariano’s but they were seriously gone within hours. I know this first hand, which may or may not mean I was there shopping twice in the same day. ;)
How do you cook squash blossoms?
There are several methods used to consume a squash blossom. First I have to say, you can simply admire them as you would any other flower and use them to decorate a plate or table and not eat them at all.
Or you can choose your favorite method. Most people, including the farmer who sold them to me this time around, decide to stuff them. You can stuff them with cheese, if you’re cool with dairy. You can stuff them with mini shrimp or bacon or pancetta or rice or anything that’s small and not too heavy. You can wrap your stuffed blossoms with bacon and bake them or pan fry them.
You can chop them and sauté them with other vegetables, add them to soup or mix them in with a salad and eat them raw.
Any way you choose, just remember you’ll want to remove the stamen (i.e. the reproductive organ of the flower) from the male squash blossoms or the pistil (if you find yourself with a female squash blossom) before preparing.
I first picked up some squash blossoms to test their stuff-ability and once I was satisfied with my garlic-mushroom combination I pan fried and baked them. When baking the blossoms they shriveled up even smaller than they normally are so I picked up another batch to continue to experiment. I would definitely serve them this way as a snack or appetizer but I wanted a more beautiful representation for these pretty little edible flowers.
The second time around I started the exact same way but instead of frying & baking them, I finished them off in this frittata!
If you’d prefer to make things go a little faster, you could always not stuff your squash blossoms before adding the eggs, but I enjoyed the entire process, and the taste. :)
What’s the difference between an omelet and a frittata?
Unlike a typical omelet, a frittata is cooked on low for 5-15 minutes or until the base is set, then transferred to the oven while the top is still runny. The frittata is then cooked for the last 5 minutes in the oven, to finish it off.
Also unlike a typical omelet which is served whole, a frittata is sliced and served in pieces.
Next time you pass by a squash blossom, pick it up and grab a few extra to take home and try this Squash Blossom Paleo Frittata to serve for breakfast.