is that ricotta and honey? greek yogurt and marmalade? what magicalness is it?
Ricotta and honey and salt! This recipe is laughably easy and soooo good.
Speaking of marmalade, can I admit something kind of embarrassing? I’ve been vaguely craving orange marmalade since this winter but haven’t bought any because I want to make it myself. Orange season ended months ago!
A staffperson at Tumblr emailed me two days ago and asked if I wanted to spend some time as a guest editor for the #food tag. I said YES OF COURSE because hey, an opportunity to turn my internet-related work procrastination into something productive! It’s been fun and I’ve been reading a wider variety of Tumblrs than I normally do, which is great. You can see the full stream of editor-picked #food posts here, but here are some of my favorites:
Wait so ... do I have to hand-sex my squash blossoms if I want them to grow squashes?! (and if so how?!)
Yayy, vegetable sex is one of my favorite topics!
The reasons to pollinate squash blossoms by hand are if (1) you aren’t sure that bees are going to do the job for you because you live in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn or (2) you don’t want the bees cross-pollinating between different species of squash.
For the latter: summer squash are like dogs (!) and can sex between varieties in the same species (but not the same family — squash and cucumbers and melons are all cucurbits but they can’t have sex). While you probably (but not always) won’t be able to tell when, say, a Costata Romanesco swaps pollen with a Zephyr, if you save the seeds of the subsequent squash and plant them the next year it’s likely that the miscegenated second-generation squash will look funny or grow differently. This is relevant if you’re into seed-saving or if you don’t want to risk having weird-looking squash — at the farm where I worked, we hand-pollinated for both reasons (which involved brushing away the bees while hand-pollinating and tying the blossoms shut so they couldn’t get back in).
So! For the former: girl squash flowers have a 2-3 inch proto-squash connecting the flower to the rest of the plant, and boy squash flowers do not. The way to hand-pollinate is to cut away one of the boy flowers at the stem and gently rip away the yellow flower petals to expose the sticky inside stamen, then use that (it’s a flower penis!) to poke inside the girl flowers and rub pollen on the stigma. That does it, although if you’re worried about stray bees it’s totally fine to lightly tie the girl flowers closed with some kitchen twine. Now the tiny squash on the girl flower can start growing into a squash baby!
What makes this more complicated is that you have to pollinate the girls when their flowers are open, which only happens in the early morning (not that early, like 10 is fine). And to make it EVEN more complicated, you really have to catch a newly developed girl flower on its first open day. Otherwise its baby squash will wilt and shrivel along with the lady flower (of all the places to make jokes comparing squash sex and people sex, this one is probably the saddest).
To encourage flower production and growth, it’s best to cut away (and eat!) all the male squash flowers that you don’t use for pollination, leaving the knocked-up girl ones to grow squash.
(Finally, if you end up with too many squash, can I have one?)