These are the edible flowers of courgettes.
They are highly perishable and as such are not usually stocked by supermarkets. However, there are quite a few box schemes that offer them, farmers markets and of course, you can pick these yourself if you are growing courgettes.
They have a subtle flavour of mild courgettes. The flower with the young courgette attached is female and the one where the rather striking flower is on a thin stalk is male. They are in season in the summer, so keep an eye out! Store them in the ‘salad crisper’ part of the fridge and ideally consume within a few days, especially if using raw. If you are intending to stuff and deep fry them, a little wilting on the flower just doesn’t matter.
- Raw in salads, on top of a cooked courgette pizza or even in sushi for a striking colourful finish. Here we are serving it as a part of vegan quinoa sushi with avocado, celery and apple.
- They are often stuffed and deep fried. Be adventurous with the fillings – ricotta cheese with lemon zest, sumac and passionfruit for a vegetarian version or simply add some crab meat for a delicate seafood treat. You can also use goat cheese with mustard and a little lavender or mozzarella with basil and sun dried tomatoes. The batter can also be a great flavouring – either using a simple thin tempura batter or substituting the flours with chickpea or spelt flour for a thicker coating, not to mention adding lots of herbs and spices.
- In South America they are often used in soups, cheesy quesadillas or in tacos. The flowers work very well just raw and perhaps torn up a little to add a lovely sunny yellow colour to dishes (not to mention a striking look).
- Courgettes flowers are also great with pasta in a simple buttery sauce with anchovies, garlic, capers and basil. Just make sure you stir the flowers through right at the end, as you would fresh herbs. Otherwise the flowers would wilt and discolour – this is not the end of the world, but rather defeats the point of adding something so fresh and delicate.
- They also work extremely well with eggs in frittatas, omelettes or a simple scramble. As courgettes would, they go well with chillies, fresh herbs, mild cheese (like ricotta, curd or mascarpone) and even parmesan, nuts and seeds. However, the sky is the limit, so get cooking!