How and where do I pinch back summer squash blossoms?

Asked August 26, 2014, 11:37 AM EDT

How and where do I pinch back summer squash blossoms?

Pennington County South Dakota

1 Response

Thank you for your question about squash blossoms. I suppose when you pinch them back depends on why you want to pinch them back.

If you wanted to decrease the overall size of the plant, you can pinch off all but 3 male and 3 female flowers at 8 weeks as well as trim back the foliage.

If you want to thin out the number of squash on any one vine, you can remove the female flowers any time.

If you want to prepare the blossoms for a dish, I have included some information from the University of Illinois below.

Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms are edible flowers, raw or cooked. Both summer and winter squash blossoms can be battered and fried in a little oil for a wonderful taste sensation. Blossoms can be harvested the day they open. Harvest only the male blossoms unless the goal is to reduce production. Male blossoms are easily distinguished from the female blossoms. The stem of the male blossom is thin and trim. The stem of the female blossom is very thick. At the base of the female flower below the petals is a small bulge, which is the developing squash.

Always leave a few male blossoms on the vine for pollination purposes. There are always many more male flowers than female. Harvest only the male squash blossoms unless you are trying to reduce production. The female blossom can be harvested with a tiny squash growing at the end and used in recipes along with full blossoms. Use the blossom of any variety of summer or winter squash in your favorite squash blossom recipe.

Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut squash blossoms at midday when the petals are open, leaving one inch of stem. Gently rinse in a pan of cool water and store in ice water in the refrigerator until ready to use. The flowers can be stored for a few hours or up to 1 or 2 days. If you've never eaten squash blossoms, you are in for a treat.