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Courgette (or zucchini) flowers can be stuffed and fried to beautiful effect, but are best eaten fresh. Find out how to buy the best and top recipe suggestions.
The edible flower of the courgette, or zucchini, bush. There are two types of flower: the flower with the immature vegetable attached is the female, and the more eye-catching flower on the long stalk is the male. It's 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.
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 will close within hours of picking.
Store picked flowers in a sealed food bag in the vegetable drawer of the fridge to avoid wilting, and eat within three days.
Stuff courgette flowers with herbs and cheese and fry briefly, dip in light batter and deep-fry, or toss in olive oil until just wilted to stir through risottos. Try our recipe for stunning stuffed courgette flowers filled with ricotta cream and a fresh tomato dressing.
Buy and cook flowers on the same day for the best results. They go best with cheese, cream, pancetta, pasta and batter.