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Stuffed pumpkin/courgette flowers

This year we have our first ever pumpkin plant; it was given to us by a friend. My first surprise was that it wanted to climb, so I duly  created a little adventure playground for it to spread out over. My second surprise, while looking at the beautiful flowers, was that those flowers are indeed edible. I don't know why I should be surprised, as people wax lyrical about stuffed & fried courgette flowers and they're essentially the same thing, but I was. So, here's my little experiment in stuffing flowers. If you're lucky enough to get any flowers in your harvest then I thoroughly recommend making the most of them :-)
 
A couple of notes:
 
Pumpkins produce both male and female flowers. The female flowers are the ones that have the beginnings of a pumpkin underneath them; the male ones are just flowers with a single stamen inside. It's my understanding that female flowers must be pollinated by male flowers in order to produce pumpkins, so if you want pumpkins then don't pick all the flowers!
 
The flowers open up in the mornings, and that's when you'll need to pick them. They'll then need to be cooked on the same day as they won't keep. Shake out any insects, cut out the stamen, and gently rinse the flowers inside and out. If it's going to be a few hours before you want to cook them then just pop the ends into a cup of water to keep them fresh.
 
I looked at several recipes to see how to go about stuffing the flowers, and they all essentially stuffed them with cheese and herbs, dipped them in egg and flour/breadcrumbs, and then fried them. Of course the combinations of cheese and herbs varied, so in the end I just went with what I had in the fridge. Credit to: http://en.julskitchen.com/tuscany/fried-zucchini-flowers and http://www.yankeecook.com/fried-stuffed-pumpkin-blossoms/ and http://www.homegrownfun.com/how-to-make-stuffed-pumpkin-blossoms-howto-stuffed-squash-blossoms/

Ingredients

flowers - I only had two
1/2 ball mozzarella, rough chopped
1-2 tbsps grated Parmesan
thyme - a sprig from my garden - chopped
salt & pepper
1 egg, beaten
flour
oil, for frying

Directions

  1. Mix together the cheeses, herbs and seasoning.
  2. Gently stuff the cheese mixture into the flowers, and then twist the tops of their petals closed.
  3. In a decent size pan heat some oil.
  4. Dip the stuffed flowers first in the egg and then in the flour and then pop straight into the hot frying pan.
  5. Cook on each side until golden brown.
  6. Rest on some kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil, and then enjoy immediately.

This recipe tastes even better made with vegetables from Community Harvest Whetstone :)
Stuffed pumpkin courgette flowers on plate


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