Squash blossoms (bulaklak ng kalabasa) and how to prepare them for cooking

Squash blossoms (bulaklak ng kalabasa) and how to prepare them for cooking

I didn’t eat squash blossoms as a child. No one in my family cooked them. The first time I tried them, I was already married. Speedy’s father used to make a huge pot of white corn and vegetables soup to which he always added squash blossoms.

What exactly are squash blossoms? Are they literally the flowers of the squash plant? Yes, they are. There are a lot of edible flowers and squash blossoms are just among them. The interesting thing about squash blossoms is that they may be male or female. The male blossoms have thinner stems; the female ones have a bulge right beneath the blossom. Bulge? Yes, the ovary where a new squash is starting to grow.

Both male and female flowers are edible. In farming, the substantial difference is that by harvesting the female blossoms for cooking, there will be less squash that will grow to maturity.

How are squash blossoms prepared for cooking?

First, cut off the flowers from the stems. Leave about an inch or two of the stem attached to the flower. Discard the tougher lower portions of the stems but keep the leaves — they are edible.

Squash blossoms (bulaklak ng kalabasa) and how to prepare them for cooking

See where the arrow points? That’s the stamen with pollen sticking all over it. Pull it out and discard. It’ll come off easily.

Rinse the flowers (and the leaves) and they’re ready to go into the pot or pan.

How are squash blossoms cooked? Lots of ways. The most popular way seems to be to stuff them with cheese, dredge them in flour and egg, and fry them. Yep, cheese-stuffed squash fritters. Or add them to a vegetable soup, like I did. White corn and vegetables soup with squash blossoms.

  • joyce

    my husband’s family do not remove the stamen since, according to them it adds sweetness to the viand. Connie, have you tried cooking the “talbos ng patolang bango”? it’s the variety that doesn’t have the ridges on the patola. it’s yummy and makes your dish very fragrant.

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      According to everyone else I know who cooks squash blossom, the stamens make the dish bitter. :-P

      Re patola. We’re not fans of patola, to be honest.

    • ling

      the stamen tastes bitter when cooked. … anyway, to each is own … :D

      • Melisa

        isinasama din namin sya sa monggo, pinakbet and ginisang kalabasa. one time na naubusan ako ng lumpia wrapper, ginamit ko yung bulaklak ng kalabasa instead. :)

  • Paula

    I love squash blossoms. Squash blossoms are very common in Mexican cuisine, e.g. sauteed, usually with some kind of aromatic or spice and then placed into tacos, quesadillas, etc. or stuffed with other local ingredients or cheeses. They are also used in Italian cuisine, e.g. filled with ricotta cheese and then fried). I saw on TV that some areas of China use them, but I have not tried those versions.. In Los Angeles, I’ve seen many restaurants use them when they are seasonal, sometimes with an international twist or with a local California flair at others, e.g. stuffed with shrimp, then fried, and served with a tangy dipping sauce.

  • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

    Dying to try the stuffed versions. :D