Q: What makes a good Zucchini Flower?
Zucchini Flowers are a delicacy all over the world. In fact in Mexican cooking, the flower is often preferred over the fruit. Many people aren’t aware however, that not only is the zucchini technically a fruit, but the much loved zucchini flower has a sex, with both male and female flowers available in Australia.
The female flowers are distinguishable as the golden blossom is on the end of the baby zucchini itself. These are perfect for dishes where both the fruit and the flower are to be used. A perfect example is this Gourmet Traveller recipe for Zucchini Flower, mint and pecorino penne. http://gourmettraveller.com.au/zucchini-flower-mint-and-pecorino-penne.htm
Male flowers grow on the stem of the zucchini plant and are slightly smaller. They are ideal for dishes where the Zucchini Flower is the hero and the fruit is not required. Not only are they more economical than their female counterparts, but the long stems make preparation and cooking without damaging the delicate bloom much easier.
A: Choose flowers that are firm at the tip, not wilted, with petals slightly open. If you intend to stuff the flower it is easier to buy the flower more open, however it is crucial to use them promptly as they perish quickly.