Picking Male Squash Blossoms:
Male squash blossoms are usually larger than female ones. They have a round shape with a small white spot at their center. There are two types of male squash blossoms:
1) White blossom (male) : These are the most common type of male flowers.
Their color ranges from pale yellowish green to light pinkish red. They grow on the same plants as female flowers.
2) Pink blossom (female): These are smaller than white blooms and they have a dark purple color.
They grow on different varieties of squash, including but not limited to: Butternut, Carrot, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Kale, Mung Bean Sprouts and Radicchio.
The best time to pick male squash blossoms is during the summer months when they bloom. You will get better results if you pick them after the last frost date. If you don’t want to wait until then, you can try picking them now or even sooner.
However, it’s always better to wait till nightfall before picking because male flowers are easier to see in the evening twilight.
How To Tell Male From Female Squash Blossoms:
It is always better to pick male flowers instead of female ones. Here is why:
1) Male flowers have no seeds, so they tend to taste better than their female counterparts.
2) Male flowers have less fiber than female ones, so they are easier to digest.
3) Female flowers have thicker stems, which makes them harder to cook.
They also have thicker and larger petals.
4) Female flowers are known to be more bitter tasting than male ones.
5) Female flowers have less color than male ones.
The best way to tell between a male and female flower is to take a look at the base of the stem. You should see that it resembles a small bulb (or shallow cup). If this part of the stem has no bulb or very small one, then you have yourself a male flower.
When To Pick Male Blossoms:
As explained above, the best time to pick male flowers is during the summer months when they bloom. If you want to pick them before or after that period, then it is recommended that you consult with a gardening expert in your area to see what would be the best time for picking in your specific location and weather conditions.
Sources & references used in this article:
Quality changes of yellow summer squash blossoms (Cucurbita pepo) during storage by AM Villalta, M Ergun, AD Berry, N Shaw… – … on Protected Cultivation …, 2004 – actahort.org
Physicochemical Parameters and Antioxidant Compounds in Edible Squash (Cucurbita Pepo) Flower Stored under Controlled Atmospheres by EN Aquino‐Bolaños… – Journal of Food …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library
Flavonoids of staminate and pistillate squash flowers by GA Barber – Archives of biochemistry and biophysics, 1956 – Elsevier
Comparison of some flower characteristics of Cucurbita pepo accessions by N Umiel, H Friedman, M Tragerman… – Cucurbit Genetics …, 2007 – researchgate.net
Food quality of various plant tissues for adults of the northern corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) by DR Lance, JR Fisher – Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 1987 – JSTOR