Normally I like to banter on about how wonderful our farmers and our Farmers Market are. Anyone at last week’s Zucchini Festival would know that I do not exaggerate. But in all the fun a mayhem last week, I saw one character deserving of attention who was fairly ignored.
The zucchini blossom.
This is the time of the year when we have a relative abundance of squash blossoms in general. I can’t believe that I still can find them for sale late in the day; those delicacies should have been gone 10 minutes after the ring of the bell.
If you haven’t had them before, you may not realize what you are missing. Even though they look like delicate little flowers, they are the easiest, quickest, healthiest replacement for ravioli I’ve ever known. Stuff these guys with cheese and spices and then bake ‘em, steam ‘em, boil ‘em or fry them.
Part of the fun of local food is the adventure of trying something new. We’re diversifying our economy and our taste bud experiences. It can make you feel so regal and fancy to serve up something like squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta, apple and honey, lightly seared in a hot pan, alongside your nicest main dish.
But if you are like me, there are times (we won’t talk about how often) when I buy something with great intentions but don’t get organized enough to use it when I thought I would. Remember: there are always options.
In this case, you don’t need to throw out the blossoms because you forgot to buy ricotta. Just fry them by themselves. Or eat them plain in a salad. Or if you are really in a rush, just toss them into that quesadilla you were toasting on the stove.
Local food isn’t about fancy food. It’s about real food. It’s about using the food we have. We have lots of real and good food. Fancy is just an option.
So hit the Homer Farmers Market down on Ocean Drive this Saturday between 10am and 3pm or Wednesday from 2-5pm or shop on the Kenai Peninsula Food Hub this weekend for your local flavor.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.