Well, it turns out that we were wrong. Not all squash blossoms will turn into a squash, and we can eat most of the blossoms in our own squash patch with impunity. Why? Read on for an enlightening trip into squash botany, with gender, sex, and fertilization featuring high on the program.
The answer is really quite simple. Squash blossoms come in two genders: male and female. Only female squash blossoms mature into a squash. The male is just there to, well, fertilize them. As in, ahem, other parts of nature, the male blossoms rather outweigh and outnumber the female flowers. The females usually grow close to the center of the squash plant, squatting low on stubby stalks that, when fertilized, quickly balloon into miniature squash.
Here are a couple images of a female squash blossom:
Have you been eating squash blossoms this summer?
Related: Five Ways to Eat Squash Blossoms
(Images: Faith Durand)