An Edible Flower: Zucchini Flower
Pumpkin flowers are large, edible flowers of pumpkin plants. Many people don’t know that these elegant flowers with orange and yellow shades of pumpkin plants are edible, but some of the most popular dishes are made in India’s West Bengal and Kerala. Here, pumpkin plants are usually grown in homes and freshly picked for food.Zucchini Flower
Pumpkin Flower Used in Many Countries
The large yellow gourd flowers produced by pumpkin plants have a long, ancient history among American Indians. Zucchini flowers were filled, fried until golden brown, joined in soups, used with eggs, pasta and salads. In the United States, the pumpkin variety called Connecticut field gourds is usually grown exclusively for blossoms.
In our country, especially in the Aegean region, stuffed zucchini flowers are both delicious and pleasant looking. It is also known in the Mediterranean Region and is very popular in Crete. Pumpkin flower pasta is a popular taste in Italy. Pumpkin flowers are filled with soft cheeses such as curd cheese, mozzarella or cream cheese in Italy, sprinkle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast from Mexico to Italy is one of the most popular ways to consume pumpkin flowers. The flowers are fried by dipping them directly into a floury slurry or filling them with flavors such as cheese and precipitate. It can also be baked instead of frying. As fillers, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, precipitate, goat cheese and cheese, such as basil, thyme, herbs such as parsley are used.
Collection of Zucchini Flowers
With the growth of summer gourds, their elegant, edible flowers begin to be sold in markets. Almost every member of the pumpkin genus produces edible flowers. Both male and female flowers of both summer and winter squash are edible. Male flowers are pubescent, female flowers are softer and the ovary in the center turns into fruit. The sex discrimination of flowers is not very important, both can be used in the same way and the parts of the male and female reproductive organs inside can be eaten, but some people prefer to remove them. Some people prefer to eat female flowers because they are male flowers and others are more succulent. When picking the flowers, enough female flowers should be left on the plant in order for the pumpkin plant to produce fruit.
Each plant has more male flowers than female flowers, and male flowers last longer, female flowers deteriorate quickly and should be prepared and served on the same day. Harvest is done in the early morning when the pumpkin flowers are open. Later in the day the pumpkin flowers close. Large flowers that appear fresh and not pale should be selected.
Storage of Collected Flowers
Zucchini flowers have a very short shelf life, perishable quickly. Whether they are bought from the market or collected from the garden of the house, pumpkin flowers should be used quickly and should not be kept for long. The flowers should be washed several times by dipping them in a bowl of cold water or keeping them under the tap. The stems should be cut from 2içe2.5 cm below the flower and placed in a tray covered with towels, put in a locked bag and stored in the refrigerator to remain fresh and used within one day. It is best to use fresh flowers, but they can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. Male flowers can remain intact for 1 week at 10 ° and 2–4 days at 4 ° C. Cooling injury occurs if kept at temperatures below 10 ° C for several days. Pumpkin flowers can also be stored in the freezer, can be canned or pickled or even dried. If cooked, the flowers can remain in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.
Preparation for Cooking
The flowers should be opened and examined for insects before use. Green petals surrounding the bottom of the flowers should be discarded. The flowers should be gently cleaned and drained. The flowers are usually stuffed and served fried. If the stuffing is going to be done, minced meat and rice should be prepared before the flowers fade quickly.
Stuffed zucchini flowers
Zucchini flowers have a very light flavor and are great stuffed. In our country, it is prepared as stuffed peppers and the flowers are filled. Indian-style stuffing is different from what we know. The flowers are filled with a mixture of scrambled eggs and breadcrumbs and sealed. Afterwards, these dolma are immersed in egg and bread flour mixture and fried until they get brownish color.
Zucchini Flower Fries
Washed and cleaned zucchini flowers are mixed with scrambled eggs, flour or breadcrumbs (which may also be corn starch) and fried until red-brown. In Ireland and Italy, zucchini flowers are dipped in a slurry of flour, salt and beer and fried until they become brittle in olive oil. Lovers can eat by preparing tomato sauce or pouring ketchup on it.
Sauteed Zucchini Flowers
Fresh zucchini flowers with curd cheese, salt, finely chopped spring onions, a little salt with garlic and parsley in a pan with a small amount of lightly sautéed for a few minutes to prepare a delicious meal.
Different Flavors Prepared with Zucchini Flower
A different flavor other than roast, stuffed and sauté is Quesadilla with pumpkin flowers. Zucchini flowers are abundant in Mexico. While preparing quesadilla, a type of pancake made in Mexico, the tortillas are filled with some other ingredients, especially creamy cheeses and zucchini flowers. This is a popular snack.
Zucchini flowers can be cut into pieces or chopped with a knife and added to pasta, rice or salads. The flowers can also be cooked with pasta sauce and served.
There are a few other ways to cook and eat these beautifully colored and delicate textured flowers. It can be added to vegetable soups, pancakes, omelettes, pizzas, potato salad with other greens and onions. The kitchen should always be open to innovations and surprises.