Calabaza, a word of Spanish origin, is a large winter squash (Cucurbita moschata) that resembles a pumpkin and is typically grown in the West Indies and tropical America, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary. In the Philippines, it is the Cucurbita maxima species that is widely used, and we call it “kalabasa”. I planted my squash on a raised bed.
The kalabasa flowers are also eaten, mostly by Ilokanos (those inhabiting the Ilocos region in the Philippines). Like a son of an Ilokano, my husband harvested the kalabasa flowers early in the morning (the best time to harvest) and cooked them as fritters right away. Squash flowers wilt easily, so you have to store them in the chiller and cook them within the day. Squash blossoms are high in calcium and iron and especially high in vitamins C and A, according to Organic Authority.
Here’s sharing our recipe of Squash Flower Fritter:
- 10 kalabasa flowers with stems intact
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 5 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Lightly wash flowers and drain.
- Insert some grated cheese and mayonnaise inside the flower.
- Fold flower petals neatly, and dip in egg.
- Lightly fry flowers in oil for about a minute. Another option is not to fry the flowers, and to just eat them raw, stuffed with cheese and mayo.
For our drink, we had fresh turmeric root tea (see recipe), this time with mint, both of which are also from our garden.
According to the The University of Illinois at Chicago, squash blossoms can be added to soups and stews, as well as be sauteed, stuffed, and dipped in batter and fried.
Here are other ways to cook squash flowers for breakfast (or brunch!):
- Baked Stuffed Squash Blossoms, by Katherine Martinelli
- Squash Blossom Quesadilla, by Homesick Texan.
- Golden Squash Blossom Crema, by Vegetable Gardener
- No-Knead Pizza Dough with Squash Blossoms, by Two Of A Kind
I’m glad that I wrote this blog. Now, I appreciate these squash flowers more and I’m more excited to try these other dishes!