WATERVILLE — 

It has been difficult keeping my three New England pumpkin plants contained to their beds at the Waterville Community Garden. In order to harvest my carrots, I had to trim the jungle of pumpkin leaves back about a foot. I was able to see about seven pumpkins back in there, which is a good amount to let ripen.

I’ve heard of eating pumpkin and squash flowers and since my bed is overrun with many blossoms, I decided to try them. I knew I would have to use them immediately, so I used the ingredients I had on hand, namely cheddar cheese and spices.

First, I cut the flowers from the pumpkin vines, leaving a long stem and put them into a plastic bag to maintain their moisture. When I got them home, I carefully washed them in cool water, since a few ants decided to come along for the ride. Then I held onto the flower gently, but firmly near the stem and pulled on the stem, which separated the flower all in one pull. I slit open each of the flowers to make sure I could wash them thoroughly on the inside. I then stuffed them with chunks of cheddar cheese, folded the flower petals and topped them all with various spices. I sprinkled salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, onion plus garlic powder, and paprika lightly over the top, before baking them at 400 degrees on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.

They were exquisite and the taste reminded me of mini enchiladas. Everyone enjoyed them, even when I told them they were supposed to be a healthy snack.

I did see a pumpkin flower soup recipe and also a stuffed goat cheese with Italian spices one as well. The flowers are prolific and a good way to keep your tummy full until the pumpkins ripen. It’s time to go pick more pumpkin flowers!

Tony Buhr: 509-664-7123

buhr@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter @TonyBuhr

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