Pumpkin and Squash Blossoms

We've had an abundance of pumkin blossoms this year (2004) and have found some interesting ways to use them. Use the male blossoms (long stem; the females already have pumpkins on them). Leave an inch of stem for a handle when crisp frying. I didn't need to wash mine – just wiped with paper towel when necessary.

Pictures of our pumpkin vine and blossoms. (We averaged about 15 blossoms a day for more than four weeks from a vine that came up in the compost.)

Pumpkin Blossom Fritters (Fritelle)

from Pizza by Vincenzo Buonassisi

4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cubes (2/3 ounce) compressed yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water
6-8 cups squash blossoms (10 ounces)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Pour the flour into a bowl and add a little salt. Stir in the yeast, dissolved in water, to the flour little by little. Add 2 1/2 - 3 cups more water until you have a thick batter. Let this rest for an hour, covered with a cloth.

Meanwhile, prepare the squash blossoms. Clean them first, then cut them into strips. When the batter has rested, it will have risen just slightly while remaining fluid. Add the squash blossom to it. Add salt and pepper.

Now heat an inch or two of olive oil in a pan. When it is very hot, drop the batter in by spoonfuls to form the frittelle, which will puff up and become golden brown, delicious, and delicate.

(1) I halve the recipe and it makes a lot – I use about 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 envelopes of yeast, and 4 cups of pumpkin blossoms cut up.
(2) I use peanut oil.
(3) Drain well on paper towels.
(4) The book suggests several variations (I haven't tried these yet). In place of blossoms use (for the full recipe):
   (a) 1 1/2 cups mozzarella or any soft cheese, cut in tiny pieces
   (b) 1/2 cup anchovies, washed, in tiny pieces
   (c) 1 cup bits of smoked salmon
   (d) 1 cup chopped smoked herring
   (e) 1 cup pieces of smoked eel
   (f) 1 1/4 cup bits of anchovies or other smoked fish with mozzarella cubes
   (g) 1 1/2 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes, mixed with chopped celery or strips of zucchini
   (h)1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, pieces of anchovy, and cubes of mozzarella

Pumpkin Blossoms Crisp Fried

Mix enough water into self-rising flour to make a thick batter. Hold a blossom by the stem, dip in batter and fry in hot oil, an inch or two deep, until crisp and golden. Drain well on paper towels. Salt lightly.

They are also good stuffed with grated mozzarella or both grated mozzarella and chopped prosciutto. I've heard that pimento cheese make a good stuffing.

Pumpkin Blossoms Stuffed and Baked

Stuff with cheese mixtures, place on a buttered pan with sides, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes. (The blossoms release a lot of water.) This cream cheese and corn filling is quite good.

Pumpkin Blossom Omlets

Make an omlet. Just before it is done, cover with blossoms sauteed briefly in butter, sprinkle with grated cheese, and brown lightly under the broiler. See Squash Blossom Frittata with Asiago Cheese and here's a different Zucchini Blossom Frittata recipe.

Pumpkin Blossom Salad

Slice and add to salad.

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