I have fond memories of growing up around gardeners who, at some point in the growing season, inevitably become inundated with zucchini. After they tire of trying to eat zucchini at every meal, they end up giving zucchini to every single person they make contact with. I love A Prarie Home Companion, and there is a great Garrison Keillor bit about Lake Wobegon being so small, that people only lock their car doors during church in the summer to avoid being gifted bags of zucchini. That time of zucchini overabundance is almost upon us!
Just over two months ago, our Garden in a Box participants gathered at PRFC to plant their wee baby seedlings in their permanent homes--big, black grow bags. Then our gardeners took the plants home to tend. Our garden coaches have been diligently checking in with their gardeners ever since. The garden coaches call their gardeners several times each month to offer advice and tips and they also try to visit the gardeners once every month, or as needed.
One of our veteran gardeners, Wilfred, chose to plant a single zucchini in his grow bag. The plant is healthy and full of flowers. Early on, Wilfred started a campaign to give away zucchini to friends and family. When his garden coach, Marie, noticed the abundance of blooms on the plant, she offered him a special recipe to stay ahead of zucchini over-production--fried zucchini blossoms!
Marie's Fried Squash Blossom Recipe
Scramble 1 egg, 4 tablespoons milk, and seasoning of choice (Marie suggests garlic powder and salt). Dip zucchini flower in egg mixture, then in bread crumbs or flour (or rice flour if gluten-free). Fry in olive oil until golden brown.
I've had zucchini cooked many different ways--grilled, sauteed, in brownies, mock "crab cakes," classic zucchini bread, etc., etc., ...but I have never tried fried zucchini blossoms! Marie's recipe sounded delicious and infinitely customizable, so I decided to try the recipe at home with my kids (Cooper, 10, and Andy, 7). Both of my kids love to cook and are willing to try new vegetables. Andy is especially interested in edible flowers (he is still talking about the time he bought a loaf of artisan lavender sourdough at a farmer's market).
The recipe comes together in minutes, is a manageable "fun" level of messy for kids (and mom), and makes a nice snack! We chose to cook ours in the air fryer and they turned out extra-crispy. The reviews: one of my kids declared, "Oh! This tastes like roasted broccoli!" and the other said, "Ew! This tastes like roasted broccoli!" I can't wait to try it again, but next time I will take more of Marie's advice and try adding some cheese before coating the flowers with batter!
Special thanks to Marie for the recipe, Wilfred and his zucchini plant for the inspiration, my kids as test subjects, and Helios Horsepower Farm for supplying me with some zucchini blossoms. Garden in a Box is a collaborative project of PRFC and University of Maine Piscataquis Extension, funded by the Quimby Family Foundation. You can sign up for the 2022 Garden in a Box waitlist by visiting this page.
Stay tuned for more Garden in a Box recipes!