How to Buy, Prep, and Cook Squash Blossoms

There's no need to fear this beautiful summer ingredient.

Zucchini Blossoms
Photo: Victor Protasio

If you've been admiring squash blossoms — the beautiful orange flowers from a zucchini plant — from afar for years but have never personally tried your hand at cooking with them, now's the time. Just ask Melissa Rodriguez, former chef of New York City's Del Posto and chef-owner of the celebration-centric Italian restaurant Al Coro.

"While they are delicate, they aren't precious," says Rodriguez, who loves the blossoms' mild summer squash flavor. She tears the flowers to toss with cooked pasta, shreds them into frittatas, and stuffs the whole blooms with lobster meat, fresh mint, and mascarpone. "They're only at the Greenmarket for a few weeks at the beginning of summer," she says, "and as a chef, I get so excited."

Buying squash blossoms

You can usually find squash blossoms at the farmers market in mid to late summer. You may have luck finding them in season at Hispanic grocery stores (and occasionally at specialty markets). Look for blooms that are bright and not shriveled, and use them as quickly as possible after buying.

Cleaning squash blossoms

1. Using kitchen tweezers or long, thin scissors, clip away the pointed sepals where the stem meets the flower.

2. Blow into the flower so the petals separate naturally. Pluck out the stamen or pistils from inside.

3. Use a pastry brush to gently remove any dirt or pollen.

Cooking with squash blossoms

You've probably had them fried and stuffed with cheese, or as a topping on pizza.

You can also fold them into a quesadilla or sauté them in butter with scallions and then add beaten eggs to the pan and bake for a simple frittata. You can try tossing sautéed blossoms with spaghetti, golden tomatoes, basil, and olive oil for a quick dinner. Or, dress them with olive oil and lemon in a salad of pea tendrils and arugula to serve with burrata and warm bread, and you've just made an elegant but easy meal.

For more options, here is a collection of our favorite squash blossom recipes.

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