Sexing Zucchini

A few years ago when I decided to branch out from planting tomatoes in my very small garden I planted a flat of zucchini. These seemed easy to grow and there were so many stories and jokes about people who had so many they could not give them away. It was exciting to see all those big yellow blossoms and I was sure I would have a bumper crop. I was disappointed to see that the blossoms wilted and fell but no zucchini appeared. This year, with my daughter's help we put in a small but varied garden. We have been enjoying lettuce and peppers and were again delighted to see those big yellow zucchini blossoms.

Johanna thought it would be great to pick them and stuff them but did not want to sacrifice an actual zucchini. Thus began her google search about zucchini and their blossoms. How to pick blossoms and not lose the zucchini? As it turns out, zucchini come in male and female plants. Whereas the females produce flowers and fruit, the males produce only flowers. It is possible to discern the difference by looking at the base of the flower. If it is attached to a long stem and nothing else, it is male and can be picked. If it is female it will have a very small knob at its base and this knob will grow into a zucchini. As it turns out, once again we have only male zucchini but never enough blossoms at one time to cook.

So, we are purchasing our zucchini from the market. I thought it would be nice to make a meal of spiraled zucchini, ricotta and pesto as a meatless, quick dinner. Johanna brought home the zucchini but the package did not seem large enough to make a meal for three. My solution was to mix some tagliatelle with the "zoodles". I cooked the former for 4 minutes and added the latter for an additional 2. While they were boiling I put a few dollops of ricotta in a serving bowl with some grated parmesan, lemon rind, salt and pepper. Somehow pesto had lost its appeal. After draining the tagliatelle and zucchini I put them on top of the cheese and mixed it all together. Only a small amount was left and it was just as good straight from the fridge the next day.

Next year I will plant many zucchini in the hope of getting a males and females.

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