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Freezing courgette/marrow flowers

Posted by on Friday 15 July 2011 in cooking, Featured, growing, preserving | 13 comments

We love having marrow flower fritters for lunch at this time of year. Made with eggs, courgettes & marrow flowers from the garden, and served with homegrown salad, they’re very low in terms of food miles – and they’re easy & super tasty to boot.

But at the moment, our 13 (gulp!) courgette plants are cranking out more flowers than we can sensibly use – so I freeze them.

The petals are torn up for the fritters but I think it’s better to freeze them whole so they don’t clump together too much. I treat them like soft fruit – I wash the flowers then spread them out individually on trays before putting them in the freezer. A few hours later (well, probably sooner but I leave them that long), they are frozen solid and can be bagged up for longer term storage.

Because they’re so delicate, they don’t take long to defrost at all – we lift out the half dozen or so we need at a time, and leave them on the side while were gathering/mixing the rest of the ingredients. By the time the flour & eggs are mixed and the courgette chopped and added, they’re ready to go.

I don’t keep them in the freezer for months and months but they’ll certainly be fine for a few weeks, by which point our fresh supply may be waning slightly.

Do you eat marrow (summer squash) flowers? What do you do with them? We’ve got so many that I wouldn’t mind a few more recipes! :)


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  1. Hazel

    We eat courgette flowers, usually as fritters (though I dip mine in the batter whole) or shredded in risottos or salads (raw).

    Sophie Grigson reckons life is too short to stuff a courgette flower, but I do have a recipe somewhere that says it’s worth it if there is a tiny courgette attached to it- making it substantial enough to be worth the faffing! I’ll have a look for it if you’re interested.

  2. Cate B

    I’m growing courgettes this year for the first time, I have flowers but if I eat them won’t that stop the plant fertilising and developing fruit? Do I eat the male flower or just the female flower? I cannot find any sensible advice in a book so I would love to know how/when you harvest your flowers but still ensure a good supply of fruit.

  3. Mo

    It has never occurred to me to freeze the flowers – great idea! Also for getting enough blooms for a substantial batch of fritters. Thanks :)

  4. Maria

    I read your recipe for this with interest earlier this year but… with only 2 courgette plants, and it being my first year as a courgette grower, I kind of don’t want to reduce my courgette output! Much as I would love to try the flower, I think if I leave them I will have more fruit. Now I’m thinking maybe I should check this is actually scientifically accurate, or whether I could eat the male flowers at least, once the fruit is set? Advice, as Cate B said, would be welcome! I also have not found info on this in my trust bible, Joy Larkom.

  5. louisa

    Kate from Living the Frugal Life is still having difficulty commenting but she has emailed to say they’re called “squash blossoms” over in the US:

    I like these fritters too. I usually prepare a filling of breadcrumbs, some kind of cheese (cottage, goat, parmesan, mozz, whatever), herbs and garlic. At the moment I have some filling prepped for a party tomorrow evening. It’s got cottage cheese, shredded basil and chives, and a bit of minced garlic and shallot which was gently sauteed in olive oil. I’ll stuff the whole blossoms with this, dredge them in beaten egg and coat them with more breadcrumbs before pan frying them and then serving room temp. They can be served with a bit of tomato sauce if you have a lot and want them to be more main course-y, or with a spritz of lemon juice if they’re just for appetizers. I admire the idea of filling them with shredded zucchini, but have never gone that route.

  6. louisa

    Hazel: risotto – very interesting! I shall get my risotto chef (John) onto that next week!

    Cate B: that used to confuse me too when John’s grandma used to appear with a bag full – but the courgettes I’ve got are self-fertile so they don’t need to be pollinated to grow (else, I’d end up with no courgettes at all). I don’t usually take the flowers from the female ones until they’re really established (and that means the flower gets pretty big too) and I make sure to leave some of the male ones anyway, as I imagine they’re the ones that smell especially good to bees. I’m also very careful with the female ones to not tear the “seal” at the join with the fruit – if the flower doesn’t fall away easily, I either cut the petals away further up or leave it for a couple of days until it “falls off”.

    Mo: I started freezing them for the latter reason – to make sure we had enough for a batch – but right now we have the opposite problem!

    Maria: as I said to Cate B, my flower picking doesn’t (seem to) affect the fruiting – but I always make sure we have more than enough plants anyway so if it did, I might not notice. I’d certainly put fruit ahead of flowers any day.

    Kate: that sounds yum! I like fried herby cheese delivery mechanisms – and that sounds like a good one :)

  7. Hazel

    It’s good to hear from Kate- I had been thinking I hadn’t heard anything from her in a while. Hi Kate! Like the sound of the stuffed fritters too.

    For those who aren’t sure if their courgettes are self fertile or not, picking male flowers will be fine as long as you leave a couple on the plant for pollination. That won’t affect your yield at all.

  8. Maria

    Hi Louisa!

    Following your helpful suggestions re taking the flowers off, I made and eat our first batch of courgette flower fritters at lunchtime today – and very tasty they were too! a very delicate taste and texture within the batter.
    So, thanks for putting my mind at ease re picking the flowers – I took some off established fruits and a couple of male ones, but left plenty more to develop and attract pollinators.

  9. Rachel

    I had no idea you could eat both the flowers and the fruit – I assumed you had so many that you could use some as flowers and still have plenty left over for fruit. I only have one plant and it’s not flowering yet but still, it’s good to know I could take the flowers, if there were any!

  10. Claire

    We always have stuffed courgette flowers when we go to Crete – they’re stuffed with a rice mixture, mint and other herbs, very much like vine leaves.
    We also love boureki (courgette, potato, mint and cheese), and I’ve just found a recipe for a courgette flower version: http://www.organicallycooked.com/2008/05/courgette-flower-boureki.html

  11. Hazel

    DH was flicking channels last night and I saw a bit of a programme on Mexican cookery with Thomasina Miers.

    She made a quesadilla with shredded squash flowers, local stringy cheese (looked a bit like mozzarella, not sure whether it tasted like it), salsa, epazote and chilli, I think. It was all local ingredients that you can’t get here (!) but I think an approximation would still be good. She suggested coriander for the epazote.

    Looking for the recipe, I found this-


    Should make a change from fritters!

  12. Jules

    I make parminisan fritters, same with eggs and parmisanm dip into the mix and then four – do this twice before frying.

    They are fab…. Enjoy

  13. louisa

    Hazel: thanks for confirming about which flowers to pick – and that Mexican recipe sounds fab. I’ll give it a go next time we have some cream in.

    Maria: glad you enjoyed them!

    Rachel: hope your plant gets there in the end!

    Claire: boureki sounds yum! A perfect meal for using up early summer produce – I’m going to make that very soon.

    Jules: ooh, parmesan! I’m feeling rather regretful that our fritter recipe don’t include cheese now! I think the next batch might have some in it – either parmesan like yours or lumps of something like wensleydale that would melt into gooey lumps…!

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