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Ask the Gardeners. Q&A

Q We have been told that squash and pumpkin blossoms are edible. Is this true? If so, what are some of the ways they can be prepared. L.J.M. Waukesha, Wis. There has been so much enthusiasm for using squash and pumpkin blooms for culinary purposes that one seed company, Robson Farms, PO Box 270, Hall, NY 14463, now offers a bush-type summer squash called Butterblossom (only 45 days to maturity).

To quote the folks at Robson's, ``It excels in season-long production of large golden yellow male blossoms ideal for table use.'' It also produces dark green fruits. Be aware that the male blooms are the ones without the nub at the base.

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We use squash blooms raw or cooked. Salads are favorites. First we soak a few minutes in mild salt solution to flush out any bugs. For cooked recipes they can be saut'eed, fried, parboiled, baked (with or without stuffing). Some folks parboil them before making fritters; others merely flatten the blooms and dip them in batter.

Robson's will send a recipe leaflet with squash seed orders. Some folks sow a second crop of summer squash in August. We sometimes do ourselves.

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