The deliciously edible, golden-orange flowers of zucchini and other summer squash are a great delicacy; they're mostly available at farmers' markets or upscale grocery stores. The blossoms have a subtle squash flavor, but their delicate texture takes well to frying, which renders them crisp and lacy.
Try squash blossoms raw in salads, lightly sautéed, stuffed with cheese, or battered and fried.
If you are buying squash blossoms at a farmers' market or grocery store, look for perky petals that show no signs of wilt.
If you're harvesting squash blossoms from your own garden, be sure to pick only male flowers; picking female flowers can decrease the plant’s yield of actual squash. The male flowers have a straight stem and no pistil; female flowers have a large swelling (ovary) beneath the blossom. Harvest blossoms early in the morning when they’re closed and the bees are inactive.
Begin by inspecting the blossoms for insects, and then wash and gently pat them dry. Insert your index finger into each blossom to snap off and remove the stamen. Don’t worry if the petals tear slightly in the process.
Squash blossoms will keep for one to a few days. To store for more than a day, refrigerate them—without washing—in a sealed container.