Does nature sometimes move a little bit too slow for your liking? it certainly feels that way at times. Luckily for us, zucchini and squash and many other related plants in the Cucurbitaceae family make themselves somewhat vulnerable to our exploits! At no additional cost to the plant.
NEED SQUASH, PUMPKIN, OR ZUCCHINI SEEDS FOR THIS SPRING/SUMMER? CLICK HERE FOR A GREAT VARIETY OF AFFORDABLE SEEDS.
So, one fact about these plants is that they produce an abundance of male flowers. More male flowers than female flowers that is, and they rely largely on insects for pollination.
Not only can you eat these male flowers, but, you can also use them to pollinate as many female flowers as you want! And, it really is quite easy.
If you are reading this, yes it is grammatically correct to put and at the beginning of a sentence. It was taught in schools not to do this because children have a tendancy to use “and” too much at the beginning of a sentence. OK, ON TO THE POLLINATION!
HOW TO HAND POLLINATE SQUASH FLOWERS
- Male and female flowers look similar. However, they have great differences!
- The male flowers have a long skinny stem. The female flowers are slightly smaller than the male flowers as well.
- The male flowers seem to present themselves a little bit more. Probably to attract pollinators to get the pollen first before they move on to the female flower. At any rate, long stem is a male flower, short stem is a female flower.
- If you pick one of the male flowers, you will notice a shaft in the bottom of the flower known as the “stamen”.
- To utilize the stamen, remove the flower petals to expose it as seen in the image above.
- Like the sistine chaple, allow the stamen and the stigma to touch eachother and rub them around a bit to ensure the female gets pollinated.
- Don’t hesitate to collect the rest of the male flowers to make a delightful meal before you even have any ready vegetables. The flowers of these plants are edible, nutritious, and delicious!
HOW TO COOK USING SQUASH FLOWERS
- This Pumpkin Flower Recipe is as easy as they come and it will totally impress people! It uses one can of beer of your choice and you can’t go wrong.
- Easy Fried Zucchini Blossom is going to use a little more spices and a little more steps but you will be so satisifed with the result.
- Pickled Squash Blossoms is truly one of my favorite ways to make squash flowers. They are delicious, beautiful, and crunchy!
- Use Easy Dill Cream Cheese to fill into the flowers before you batter and fry them and you will get an explosion of fresh flavors. Perfect for the summer.
- Basket for collecting extra male flowers for cooking (optional)
- Pair of garden shears (optional)
- Pick one of the male flowers by the stem.
- Remove the flower petals, leaving the stamen intact.
- Expose the female flower and connect the male stamen to the female stigma.
- Rub the stamen to the receptacles of the stigma to ensure good pollination.
- You can use one male flower to pollinate many female flowers! Doesn't have to be just one and done.
- Squash, pumpkin, cucumber, gourd, zucchini, and many others are all part of the same family. So the flowers of all of these can be used just the same.
- The male flowers are edible, nutritious, and delicious! They are an ingredient that should not be overlooked.