The edible flower of the courgette, or zucchini bush. There are two sorts of flower: the flower with the immature vegetable attached is the female and the more eyecatching flower on the long stalk is the male. It is the male flower that is sold in bunches and used in Italian cooking.
If you see courgette flowers, snap them up - some supermarkets and most greengrocers stock them over the summer.
Choose the best
Look for courgettes with flowers still attached (a sign of youth) and cook them like that. Ideally you should use them as soon after picking as possible as the flowers close within hours of picking.
Avoid wilting by storing picked flowers in a zip-lock plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge and eat within 2-3 days.
How to cook courgette flowers
Stuff courgette flowers with herbs and cheese and fry them briefly; dip in light batter and deep fry them; or toss in olive oil until just wilted, then stir through risottos. Try our recipe for stunning stuffed courgette flowers, filled with ricotta cream and a fresh tomato dressing.
The flowers don't last so buy and cook them on the same day. Go with cheese, cream, pancetta, pasta, batter.