Snacks | Vegetarian

Italian Fried Zucchini Flower Fritters (Pitticelle Cucuzza)

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You must if you’ve never tried authentic Italian Fried Zucchini Flower Fritters.

Crispy golden Italian zucchini flower fritters taste crisp outside and pillow soft in the middle with cheese and fresh herbs.

Those orange blossoms are edible and expensive for any zucchini growers reading this.

Although orange zucchini flowers are considered a vegetable, they are a fruit.

Both zucchini and other squashes have beautiful star-shaped orange flowers that are edible.

If you’ve never tried Italian Fried Zucchini Flowers, you will love them.

Today I will show you how to make authentic Italian stuffed orange zucchini flowers and fried zucchini flowers called fritters or Italian Pitticelle Cucuzza.

You can find this recipe’s keto, the low-carb, gluten-free Zucchini Fritters version, in the Keto Recipes category.

How To Make Zucchini Flower Fritters From Scratch
Step By Step How To Make Authentic Italian Zucchini Flower Fritters

Zucchini Flowers

If you’re looking where you can buy zucchini flowers, I’ve never seen them in a grocery store.

There are a few options available if you’re looking for zucchini flowers.

  • Grow squash or zucchini
  • Ask friends if they have zucchini flowers in their garden
  • Put an ad on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji looking to buy or get free zucchini flowers

What Is Cucuzza Mean In English?

What is Cucuzza? Cucuzza, pronounced ku-koo-za, is an Italian summer squash, popular in southern regions of Italy. Cucuzza is characterized by its slightly sweet taste, firm texture, and long light-green appearance. These squash can grow up to 3-4 feet in length, sometimes growing up to 10 inches in just one day.

How To Cook With Cucuzza

When Should I Pick Zucchini Flowers?

Orange Blossoms or Zucchini Flowers  shaped like a star
Orange Blossoms or Zucchini Flowers

The male squash plants are where you will find zucchini flowers that are bright orange.

Many gardeners grow squash and zucchini in our community garden but leave the flowers to rot.

Most people don’t know that zucchini flowers are edible and a costly appetizer at upscale Italian restaurants.

If you grow squash or zucchini, you will likely get the orange blossom zucchini flowers.

The absolute best time to pick zucchini flowers is early morning when they are in full bloom.

I’m up early most days and have a coffee on the back deck between 5 am, and 6 am.

Before I head in to get ready for the day, I will harvest any orange open zucchini flowers.

Be very gentle when you cut zucchini flowers from the plant with a pair of scissors.

Sometimes I use my fingers to bend the stem, which snaps off gently.

How To Clean Zucchini Flowers

Once you pick zucchini flowers, bring them indoors and give them a gentle cleaning.

I turn the cold water on slightly and clean the zucchini flowers by twirling them under the water.

The male zucchini flowers will have stamens in the middle of the flower, which you need to remove.

With the female zucchini flowers in the middle, you will find the pistils to remove.

For zucchini to grow, the female blossoms are pollinated by insects that transfer pollen from the male to the female.

When pollination does not happen, the zucchini flowers will fall off the plant.

If pollination does occur, the zucchini will grow until it’s ready to harvest in weeks to come.

How To Store Zucchini Flowers (Zucchini Blossoms)

I line the tray with a damp paper towel using a tin foil pan or a baking dish.

Set the washed zucchini flowers over the top of the damp paper towel.

After I have all the zucchini flowers set, I add a second damp paper towel over them.

Zucchini flowers prepared as I directed above will last a maximum of two days in the refrigerator.

Ensure the paper towel is damp the next day to keep the flowers moist.

On the second day, check the paper towel and wet it again if it’s dried up. If yes, add another damp paper towel over the top of the flowers.

You must use the orange zucchini flowers the following day or risk losing them.

You can freeze zucchini flowers for flowers the in the freezer.

Once defrosted, you can use the orange blossoms for these fritters or in soups or stews.

Ways To Use Orange Squash or Zucchini Flowers

Squash and Zucchini flowers look the same, but some people notice a taste difference.

Some people prefer the squash blossom over the zucchini blossom.

In our household, we prefer the zucchini flowers as that’s what we’re used to eating.

Last year I shared a keto version of these Italian Zucchini Fritters, which were a hit on the blog.

After demand from some of you who emailed, I made authentic Italian zucchini flower fritters that are non-keto.

How To Use Zucchini Flowers

There are two ways to use zucchini flowers that I’m aware of.

  • Clean, Dry and Stuff the zucchini flowers with ricotta cheese or mozzarella cheese. Close the orange blossom and give it a gentle twist at the bottom to hold the filling.
  • Holding the green stem dip the orange zucchini flower into the batter and set it in a heated frying pan with extra-virgin olive oil. I keep the dial at seven, but you can test with a thermometer which will tell you if it’s ready for frying, or I put a bit of batter in the centre and use my spidey senses.
  • Some people like to use canola oil, vegetable oil or avocado oil. We always use extra-virgin olive oil to fry foods.
  • Turn the flowers on each side after two minutes or when you see the batter is golden brown.
  • Set the finished zucchini flowers on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  • Enjoy them hot as an appetizer with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
  • Another favourite is to pour pure maple syrup over the top of the fried zucchini flowers.

Option 2 How To Use Orange Zucchini Flowers

Fresh Picked Zucchini Flower also known as zucchini Blossoms
Orange Zucchini Flowers On A Shovel
  • Remove the green stem, gently wash with cold water and give each flower a gentle shake to remove excess water. Pull out or cut the
  • Chop between 8 to 10 orange zucchini blossoms and add them to the batter.
  • Following the same frying method as above, drop the batter into the hot oil using a spoon.
  • The size of the zucchini fritters is up to you; however, I make small pancakes.
  • Once golden brown, remove the zucchini fritters and set them onto a paper towel to drain any oil.
  • Grate Parmigiano Regianno cheese over the top if you desire the savoury taste.
  • Drizzle maple syrup over the top or dip the zucchini fritters into a small bowl of maple syrup.

Why Are My Zucchini Fritters Soggy?

There are a few reasons why your zucchini fritters will be soggy.

  1. You didn’t cook them on high enough heat. I keep my dial on an electric stove between 7 and 8 and fry until golden in colour and crispy.
  2. Failure to remove the fritters from the paper towel once they have soaked up oil makes them soggy.
  3. Sometimes I set them on a cookie rack after the paper towel process.
  4. Eat the zucchini fritters the same day because once they sit overnight, they become soggy.

Fry the zucchini fritters until golden and crispy, and eat them immediately.

Ingredients For Zucchini Flowers Fritters

My batter for Zucchini Flower Fritters makes approximately ten portions.

The printable version of this recipe is at the end of this blog post.

How To Make Italian Zucchini Flower Fritters using the orange blossoms.
How To Make Italian Zucchini Flower Fritters

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh grated Romano cheese or Parmigiano Regianno.
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (add more if the batter is too thick)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 6-8 zucchini flowers washed and cleaned then sliced (see instructions above)
  • 1 small green zucchini washed, remove the ends, grate the entire zucchini, then squish it into a ball to release excess water.
  • 10 fresh basil leaves rolled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • More grated cheese for topping once fried
  • Add pure maple syrup or use while eating a hot meal

How To Fry Crispy Italian Zucchini Flower Fritters

How To Make Zucchini Flower Fritters

Zucchini Flower Fritters From Italy
Zucchini Flower Fritters From Italy
  • Follow the picking and cleaning procedure above.
  • In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients – flour, salt and Parmigiano regianno cheese. Stir together and make a small well in the middle.
  • Crack an egg in the middle, and using a fork, whisk the egg into the flour.
  • Chop the cleaned zucchini flowers and add them to the flour mixture
  • Add 1 small zucchini washed and grated to the dry ingredients with the egg.
  • Add water and milk, then stir until you get a pancake batter consistency.
  • If the batter is too thin, add a bit more flour or if it’s too thick, add more milk.
  • Note: If you don’t want to use grated zucchini, you can leave it out, but you’ll need a minimum of 10 zucchini flowers.
  • Using a kitchen thermometer, heat the oil until the frying temperature reaches 350-365 degrees.
  • I used a large spoon to drop a spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil.
  • I try to keep the size of each fritter consistent for frying purposes.
  • You don’t want to have a fritter that is still doughy in the middle.
  • Once golden, remove from the oil and set into a tray lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  • Move from the paper towel to a cookie rack, so they don’t get soggy on either side.
  • Eat the zucchini fritters the same day, ideally after they come out from the frying pan.
  • They keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, but they will be soggy like a pancake by this time.
  • Enjoy with Igrated Parmigiano or Romano cheese over the top or top with maple syrup.
  • I add herbs to my batter, but if you don’t want them, you can leave them out.

If you’d like to learn more about the zucchini blossom, check out this detailed post by clicking the link below.

Related: What Do Yellow Flowers Mean On A Zucchini Plant?

Yield: 10

Authentic Italian Zucchini Flower Fritters

Calabrese Zucchini Flower Fritters

Using the orange blossoms from the zucchini or squash plants make these crispy Zucchini Flower Fritters.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper1 cup fresh grated Romano cheese or Parmigiano Regianno.
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (add more if the batter is too thick)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 6-8 zucchini flowers washed and cleaned then sliced
  • 1 small green zucchini washed then remove the ends, grate the entire zucchini then squish it into a ball to release excess water.
  • 10 fresh basil leaves rolled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • More grated cheese for topping once fried
  • Add pure maple syrup or use while eating a hot meal

Instructions

  1. Follow the picking and cleaning procedure above.
  2. In a large bowl add the dry ingredients - flour, salt and
    Parmigiano regianno cheese. Stir together and make a small well in the middle.
  3. Crack an egg in the middle and using a fork whisk the egg
    into the flour.
  4. Chop the cleaned zucchini flowers and add them to the flour
    mixture
  5. Add 1 small zucchini that has been washed and grated to the
    dry ingredients with the egg.
  6. Add water and milk then stir until you get a pancake batter
    consistency.
  7. If the batter is too thin add a bit more flour or if it's
    too thick add more milk.
  8. Note: If you don't want to use grated zucchini you can leave
    it out but you'll need a minimum of 10 zucchini flowers.
  9. Heat the oil until the frying temperature reaches 350-365
    degrees using a kitchen thermometer.
  10. Using a large spoon drop a spoonful of the mixture into the
    hot oil.
  11. I try to keep the size of each fritter consistent for frying
    purposes.
  12. You don't want to have a fritter that is still doughy in the
    middle.
  13. Once golden remove from the oil and set into a tray lined
    with a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  14. Move from the paper towel to a cookie rack so they don't get
    soggy on either side.
  15. Eat the zucchini fritters the same day, ideally after they
    come out from the frying pan.
  16. They keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days but they will be
    soggy like a pancake by this time.
  17. Enjoy with Igrated Parmigiano or Romano cheese over the top
    or top with maple syrup.
  18. I add herbs to my batter but if you don't want them you can
    leave them out.

Notes

Do not bag the fritters when they are hot or cover them as they will go soggy.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Recipe Discussion

Have you ever harvested Orange Zucchini Flowers Before? What did you make with them?

Please share your experiences and tips below.

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