Zucchinis (summer squash) never fail to overwhelm gardener and cook at some stage during the summer, so just after Christmas in Australia is the perfect time to exact revenge.
Zucchinis have separate male and female flowers, as in the photos below, which insects visit for their nectar, completing the act of pollination in the process. Eating the female flowers kills a few birds with one stone; left-over turkey stuffing can be loaded into the blossoms, which are then dipped in batter and pan-fried, thus nipping in the bud the problem of how to dispose of yet another huge zucchini.
And how do you know which one is a female? And when to pick them?
That’s easy – the flower closes up once pollination has taken place and the zucchini starts to develop behind it as a thickened stem. Leave enough of the developing fruit to grab the nutritional value and tenderness of the infant zucchini, while simultaneously providing enough of a handle to grab them hot out of the frying pan. Female zucchini flowers have five to seven buds (the style) in the centre.
Male zucchini flowers - with a single pistil in the centre - are found on separate skinny stems, and can be eaten also, especially if you really do want the female flowers to go on to make more zucchinis. Just rub the male and female bits together first to make sure the pollen is not wasted and that fertilization takes place.