Squash Macho Blossoms
Inventory, 100 ct : 0
Macho blossoms are fragile, their shelf-life brief and yet despite these two liabilities, their better qualities; flavor, appearance and textural favor have afforded the Macho blossom culinary appeal. The male blossoms are downy, feather weight and tissue-paper thin. Once mature the broad and pointed flower petals will be open in the mornings and closed tightly in the late afternoon. The blossom's coloring is vibrant orange at its tip, with variegations of gold and green running the length of the bloom towards its vibrant green stem end. Their flavor is subtle, yet true to squash in all notes, slightly sweet and reminiscent of corn, grassy and succulent with subtle notes of citrus.
Macho blossoms are available year-round with a peak season in the late spring.
Macho blossoms, also known as flores de Calabaza, are the male pollen bearing flower of squash plants. Summer squash plants that produce the Macho blossom are botanically a part of Cucurbita pepo and a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Other squash and gourd species produce blossoms similar in appearance and taste but the Macho blossoms found on summer squash varieties are one of the most popular squash blossoms found in the marketplace. Macho blossoms are more commonly harvested than female blossoms as they tend to bloom earlier than the female blossoms. Also, since they are only needed for pollination purposes a plant can be picked of all but a few males leaving the majority of plant blossoms intact female which after being pollinated by one of the few remaining males will turn into the fruit of the squash plant.
Squash blossoms provide minimal nutritional value and only approximately five calories per cup of flowers. The blooms do offer some calcium and iron as well as vitamin C and A.
Macho blossoms can be prepared raw or cooked. Raw blossoms can be added to salads, stuffed and served as a crudité or simply eaten fresh out of hand. The best way to experience a Macho blossom cooked is to sauté, pan or deep fry the blossom stuffed with a soft cheese. Wilted blossoms can be chopped up and added to soups and stews or used as part of a filling for tacos or enchiladas. Traditional preparations include adding the blossoms to quesadillas and pizzas alongside melting cheeses, chile peppers, corn, tomatoes and fresh herbs such as basil, oregano and parsley. Other complimentary pairings include stewed pork, black beans, cream, mushrooms, garlic, cilantro, lemon zest, pine nuts, pepitas, olive oil and light bodied vinegars. Macho blossoms are delicate and have a very short shelf life, when cleaning do so with a gentle touch. Ideally they should be used immediately after harvest or purchase, to store keep in a dry and air tight container in the refrigerator for one or two days.
In Latin America and Italy squash blossoms such as the Macho blossom are a popular culinary item when in season and are commonly available in the marketplace. In Mexico the Macho blossom is an important ingredient in Calabaza quesadillas and sopa Mexicana de flor de Calabaza. In both Italy and Mexico the blossoms are popularly stuffed with cheese and fried. Outside of these regions squash blossom are sold more as a specialty item and most commonly are found at farmers markets, specialty stores or in home gardens.
Squash is believed to be native to the Americas and dates back to pre-Columbian times. When exactly the blossoms of the squash plant were first used for culinary purposes is not known, though since it was common practice of ancient peoples in many different cultures to make use of as many parts of food plants as possible it is likely they have been used as long as the squash itself has been utilized. One of the earliest documentations of squash blossoms can be found in a painting that dates back to the 16th century entitled, “The Fruit Seller” by Vincenzo Campi. Painted in 1580 the panting depicts a fruit vender in the street market of Italy surrounded by various fruits and vegetables including a box of what appears to be squash blossoms. The male squash blossom grows directly from the stem of the squash plant's trailing vines and pollinates the fruit producing female blossoms. To limit the amount a squash produced by a plant both the male and female blossoms can be harvested or to promote as much squash growth as possible harvest all but a few males leaving all the females to be pollinated and allowed to turn into the squash fruit.
Recipes that include Squash Macho Blossoms. One is easiest, three is harder.