If I cut off a squash blossom, what happens to the stem?

spaghetina(SF Bay Area)June 19, 2009

Excuse the newbie question, but I've never grown zucchini before, and I've only had squash blossoms once.

I've noticed that when buying squash blossoms, the blossoms have been cut off from just below them, which means that somewhere, there are plants with just stems sticking out with nothing attached to them, right?

Well, I'm coming upon that time of the year when it seems I will soon have some male flowers to pick (after borrowing their pollen to pollinate the one female that should be blooming soon :D ), but I'm wondering if anything will grow where they once were. Should I cut them off right at the base of the flower, or cut at the base of the plant?

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weirdtrev

You can cut them off where they attach to the plant, but I think the main reason people don't is because it is easier to cut them off just under the flower. Squash leaves can be fairly painful if they scratch you. The stems of the flowers if left on the plant will just shrivel and fall off eventually. Nothing will regrow from the stem of the flower.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 5:26AM
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josie23(5)

I leave the stem on and cut it as far down as possible, becuase it seems to make the flower last longer (think long stem roses). I don't always have the time to eat them the same day I harvest them, so this helps. I carefully place them in a ziploc with paper towel under and over them in the fridge and have been able to keep them a week this way.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:08AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Great advice, Josie, thanks! I only have one to harvest today, but that doesn't exactly make a substantial snack, so I'll give it a trim at the bottom.

One more question though. How long do the flowers stay alive when still attached to the plant? I read somewhere that they're only viable for pollination on the day they open, but couldn't find anything as to how long they'll hang out on the plant before falling off.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:41PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

I think they lasted a while on the plant-- I remember thinking "I should pick those and do something with them" for several weeks.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:49PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

That's great news, thanks! :D

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 4:43PM
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weirdtrev

The blossoms definitely don't stay on the plant for several weeks after they flower. It is more like 2 or 3 days tops and after they flower they shrivel into something that I certainly wouldn't eat.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 5:47PM
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riley17(5)

I've never had squash blossoms before. What do they taste like and how do you eat them? Raw? I think I've heard of frying them?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 7:11PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

They taste of very mild zucchini in flavor, but the texture is light and delicate. It's what you would imagine a flower to feel like in your mouth.

They can be eaten raw, or baked, or fried, or stuffed and cooked in one of the aforementioned ways. So far, I've made them a few ways. Battered and pan fried, which was good, but once fried, they really could have been anything. Dry/wet/dry coated then pan fried, and again, they kind of could have been anything with that kind of coating. And the other day, when I had a horticulturalist come over to diagnose my tomatoes, and rudely plucked my one and only (and very first zucchini flower that I'd ever grown in my entire life >:( ) blossom and unceremoniously hand it to me, I just washed it, tossed it into a pan with a smidge of butter, and sauteed it until it was just wilted. THAT was my favorite preparation of them all because I was able to really taste the delicate flavor of the blossom instead of hiding it inside a heavy fried flavor.

It's tempting to fill and fry them, but honestly, I could fill and fry something much less precious and it'd probably taste about the same, since I'm sure the predominate tastes would be from the filling.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 1:20AM
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tammysf(9b/10a or sz15/16)

I love to stuff them, tempura batter, then fried.

My mom loves them sauteed.

I posted some recipes on my blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: stuffed squash blossoms

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 2:41AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Tammy,

I just checked out your blog, and I only got as far as your mangosteen post, but OMG, I'm trying to germinate one too!

I hadn't had a fresh mangosteen since I was 6 years old and on a trip to somewhere in Asia, and finally saw some at the San Carlos farmer's market. They were $12/lb., but I bought a couple anyway, and then took the one viable seed and thought I'd give it a shot.

Let me know if it works out for you. I hear they can take a very, very long time to germinate, if they do at all.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 4:21AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Forgot to actually post what I meant to about the tempura batter, lol. I have a bag of rice flour that I bought a few weeks ago specifically to be able to try frying the blossoms tempura-style. I know I said I liked them sauteed in butter best, but I am determined to find a recipe that I just die over. I have 2 male blossoms sitting on the plant right now, but the female should be opening this morning, so I'm holding off snipping them, and hopefully the bit about the pollen only being viable on the day they open isn't totally true, so that I can pollinate my one little girl and get myself my very first zuke ever!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 4:32AM
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