stuffed squash flowers

I didn’t realize how sexual plants were until I started growing zucchini. Concerned that my plants weren’t being pollinated, I did some research and found that to hand-pollinate zucchini, all you have to do is rub the male flower’s pistil on the female’s stigma.


But how to tell the difference between male and female flowers? Well, you learned this when you were five – boys and girls have, ah, visibly different parts, and the zucchini flowers’ parts are surprisingly similar to humans’. Or maybe I just have a dirty mind. You be the judge.

Pistils and stigmas aside, female flowers have a mini zucchini as a stem, and males have a normal stem. This is important, because if you’re going to fry zucchini flowers, and you should if you have them available, you want to fry the males of course, and leave the females behind to form zucchini. But not before sacrificing a male to rub over the female, in a deliberate act of zucchini rape.

To further abuse your zucchini flowers, cut the males off (ouchy), pry them open, stuff them with cheese, batter, and fry them. It’s kind of like mozzarella sticks, except even crisper and more flavorful because the mozzarella was marinated in garlicky olive oil. It’s almost better than sex – at least zucchini sex.

One year ago: Puff Pastry Dough
Two years ago: Pain a l’ancienne

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers (adapted from How to Read a French Fry, by Russ Parsons)

I used regular (not fresh) mozzarella because it’s all I had. It worked just fine, but I definitely think fresh would be even better.

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 24 pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (9.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ – 1 cup water
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep-frying
24 zucchini flowers (about 1 pound), washed and dried

1. In a medium bowl, combine the cheese, garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil, and a healthy pinch of both salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour and enough water to form a thin, smooth batter with the thickness of heavy cream.

3. In large pot, heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees. While the oil heats, use a finger to pry open each flower; stuff a piece of mozzarella inside, then twist the petals together to close the flower around the cheese.

4. Dip the blossoms in the batter; let excess batter drip off, then place the blossoms in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides, 4-5 minutes. Fry only 4-6 blossoms at a time, carefully monitoring the oil temperature so it remains between 350 and 375 degrees. Drain the fried blossoms on a paper towel-lined plate. Salt lightly and serve immediately.


  1. wow! I was always hesitant to try this because I thought I would be sacrificing potential fruit when plucking the flower. But of course!, women do all the child rearing so the men are up for good eats. Too bad I never fry anything anyway…

  2. Hahahahaha, this post is awesome. I grew zucchini on my high-rise balcony a few years ago and felt a bit naughty hand-pollinating them.

    Wow, pain a l’ancienne was two years ago? That reminds me I need to make that more often.

  3. I hate you. Just for the fact that you have beautiful squash blossoms to stuff and fry. I’m just totally disappointed in my garden lately and taking it out on you!

    Maybe if I ever have a stretch of perfect weather and squirrels not eating my plants, I could actually make these.

  4. OMG I’m laughing so hard reading this. Better than zucchini sex bwahaha! Awesome.

  5. This is the best post ever (besides the lobster cake post – that one was great too) – I need to get my mind out of the gutter 🙂 and you are awesome.

  6. Looks so delicious! I’ve never had one before!

  7. This post is hilarious – hand pollinating does sound dirty! But the food looks quite tasty!

  8. “Zucchini Sex” Ha! That’s settles it, I’ve now heard it all.

  9. Plants are asexual.


    PS: That means they have sex with themselves. 🙂 Happy eating everyone!

  10. I felt dirty sexing up my pumpkins, but it worked, my freezer now has 20 lbs. of pumpkin puree!
    these look delicious! i’m going to have to remember to save my boys when my next group of squash blossoms appear!

  11. This really cracked me up. I must be dirty-minded too because, uh, yeah, remarkably similar. Kind of freaky, actually. But the blossoms with marinated cheese – YUM!

  12. treewhisperer says:

    i <3 you!

  13. Great post. I’m jealous of your blossoms 🙂

  14. Bridget, I love this post. And some how, all I can think of is Georgia O’Keefe. Hmmmmm…

  15. Mmm my family adores squash flowers. We’ve never stuffed and fried them though. Great idea!

  16. This PG-13 post is priceless.

  17. I found your blog through the Nest, and this post actually had me laughing out loud. All of your food looks so delicious! I can’t wait to try some of these recipes 🙂