Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Peek - a - boo. A couple of days ago, one of my courgette flowers opened:

It had been hiding as they do, sheltered by a sturdy green canopy. They know their worth, an ever popular and increasingly sought after delicacy.  Stuffed, they are apparently a fine diner's delicacy.

Bristol was host to a foodie festival at the weekend - where local restauranteurs demonstrate their exceptional skills while stall after stall lined up to sell over-priced 'posh' sausages. If it wasn't for the local culinary masters I would be sceptical about the worth of these festivals. But one particular gem on offer was pan-fried courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese and pine nuts (more of a mouthful than the dish).

However, in order to be stuffed it seems they need to be picked before they flourish. I could be wrong and stand to be corrected (as ever), but it does make me wonder that if, on hearing Jamie Oliver had praised their kind, evolution kicked in hard. So, in order to protect themselves from the scourge of the mini Oliver in all of us (oh dear, did I really just write that?), the flower keeps itself from sight until the point where it's too late and then melts us with it's burst of colour.

Or laughs in our face, depending on your point of view.

And a question troubling the mind of my friend with the lovely radishes is, if you pick the flower do you lose the fruit?


elaine rickett said...

As long has the fruit has set - picking the flower wont harm it.

The Sage Butterfly said...

Your description of stuffed blossoms made my mouth water. I may be making a dish very soon. Welcome to Blotanical!

Nome said...

I've always wondered about this too. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to pick them when they're open (which is usually a window of just a few hours) so you can remove the bitter stamens and make sure they're insect-free. You can do this no problem with male flowers (the ones not attached to a baby courgette) but with the female ones it does mean sacrificing the fruit - or picking it tiny along with the flower. Seems a waste to me, but then I suppose that's why they're a bit of a rare delicacy.

Hapless gardener said...

Thank you all, and welcome to my blog Elaine and The Sage Butterfly Nome, as ever, many thanks for the expert view. How on earth do you work out which is the male and which the female. I didn't pay attention in GCSE biology!

Nome said...

The female flowers grow on the end of courgettes - the male flowers are just on a thin stem with no fruit. To complicate things, some self-fertile varieties only have female flowers anyway, or very few male ones!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.