Courgettes in flower
A few days ago, I recorded a podcast for Canadian internet radio station Back to My Garden - it will be available on iTunes later in the autumn. One of the things we talked about was courgette flowers. The interviewer was frustrated that his courgettes were taking their time in producing female flowers and therefore fruit, leaving him with only males. The two open flowers on the left and right of the picture above are female, with tiny courgettes growing beneath. The downward pointing flower is one a day older which has started to close - this will wither and drop off in a few days as the fruit grows. A couple of male flowers which are on a straight stem can be seen towards the centre of the image.
Whilst both male and female flowers are necessary for the creation of fruit, the males often appear before long before the females but not everyone realises that they can both be eaten. Unless you live near a lovely market in Italy or France, courgette flowers are almost impossible to buy fresh. Even when you do find them, they cost a fortune, so they are one of the treats that people who grow their own veg can tuck into in much heartier quantities than you would get in a fancy restaurant.
I dip them in a simple batter made from egg and flour with maybe a little chopped sage or stuffed with ricotta cheese and basil. The coated flowers are shallow fried in olive oil and served with a crisp salad. A more involved recipe with ideas for other fillings can be found on the River Cottage website.