....of zucchini blossoms
I want to talk about my garden. More specifically, I want to talk about my zucchini. Well, my summer squash as well, but zucchini is a funnier word. And even more specifically, I want to talk about my zucchini blossoms.
Last year my garden was overrun by deer. While I like deer, I'd prefer that they ate wild plants, or even somebody else's garden -- just not my garden. This year, I've used a combination of bird netting and strategic placement of tomato cages, and at least so far, I've been successful at keeping the deer away.
My garden isn't large, and the variety of veggies that I grow is limited. I'm growing two different types of tomatoes, some peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini and summer squash. Not only does everything seem to be doing well, but this may actually be my best garden ever. I have lots of tomatoes - still green, of course, and even more flowers waiting to become tomatoes. Similarly, my pepper plants have loads of flowers, and even several small baby peppers. The cucumbers seem a bit behind schedule this year, but we've had an odd spring, and I have faith that they will quickly catch up. But this is my first effort at yellow squash and zucchini, and I'm pleased to report that the plants seem quite healthy. No flowers yet - but this is New England and it's still a bit early.
Now, I've heard that an average family only needs one - or at most two - zucchini plants. Apparently your typical zucchini plant produces 6-10 pounds of zucchini.. and that's a lot. But they come three to a pack, and the thought of simply throwing one or two plants out, made me sad... so I've planted all three. Plus the three yellow squash.
So in anticipation of a monster yield of yellow and green, I've been perusing the internet for recipes. Sure, there are lots of recipes, but most recipes take some silly amount like "1/3 of a zucchini". Hmmm, I guess I'd assumed that a typical zucchini bread took 3 or 4 LARGE zucchinis... but apparently not.
And then I starting coming across recipes for zucchini blossoms. Really? It never occurred to me to eat a pansy, or a snapdragon. So it certainly never occurred to me to eat a zucchini blossom. And besides, what if I eat all the blossoms, and then decide I want more zucchini?
Turns out that the answer to that last question, is very simple. You see -- on each and every zucchini plant, there are boy blossoms, and girl blossoms. And while the boy blossoms are necessary for the process, only the girl blossoms make zucchini. So as long as your girl blossoms have (ahem) clearly been fertilized (by which I mean they have little baby zucchini growing)... you can snip off the male blossoms, and eat them to your heart's content, without adversely affecting the zucchini produced!
So, while trying to put visions of Lorena Bobbit out of my head, I next considered how one went about determining which blossoms were boys, and which were girls. Turns out it's very simple, and can be done without putting any of the parties involved in compromising positions.
The girl blossoms are the ones that are very close to the center of the plant, and are on very short, stubby stalks.
The boy blossoms are the ones on the end of long stalks that kind of wander through the plant. Ok, sounds simple enough
So now I'm heavily armed with my recipes for zucchini dishes, and my recipes for zucchini blossom dishes.. and I'm waiting for Mother Nature to finish doing her thing.
Hmmm... Still waiting.
Guess I'll have some tea while I wait.