The voluptuous blossoms that eventually turn into zucchini, pumpkins or other squash have a delicate flavor—squashy, really­—that plays well with herbs and mild cheese. Snip or buy a few when summer heats up and plants are flush with blooms, then try our simple recipes.

By Recipes: Charles Worthington; Photographer: Blaine Moats
Squash blossoms

Squash blossom basics

Store blossoms in the refrigerator for a day or two, max. To prep, gently open petals to check for bugs. (Give the flower a little shake.) Remove the pistil or stamen. Carefully wipe off any dirt with a paper towel.

Look for squash blossoms at farmers markets or at Italian and Latin grocery stores-or order them online (gourmetsweetbotanicals.com).

In the garden, pick flowers that are still closed. Male blossoms (which grow on long stems) appear before the female flowers and are better to harvest because they will never set fruit. Be sure to leave a few males to fertilize the females.

Squash blossoms

Playing squash

Chop blossoms to sprinkle into a lettuce salad, or whip up one of these ideas.

Lemony Squash Blossom Pasta Cook 8 ounces pasta. Saute 12 chopped squash blossoms in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss with pasta. Season with salt, pepper and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Cheese-Stuffed Squash Blossom Appetizer Mix 4 ounces soft goat cheese, 2 teaspoons honey and 1 teaspoon each olive oil and lemon zest. Spoon into a resealable freezer bag. Snip off a small corner; pipe mixture into 8 squash blossoms.

Minty Peas with Squash Blossoms Steam 3 cups frozen peas. Stir in 4 coarsely chopped squash blossoms, 1 tablespoon butter and 2 teaspoons snipped fresh mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Squash Blossom Pizza with Honey and Ricotta This beautiful, delicious pizza blends the flavors of squash blossoms with cheeses,honey and snipped chives.

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