For a long time I wondered about squash blossoms - namely why you would pick them when they would otherwise turn into zucchini. Turns out that each squash plant has both male and female flowers. You can tell the difference between the two because the male has a stamen, whereas the female has a bulge at the base of the flower which is the nascent fruit. As long as you leave enough males to do the pollinating, you can eat the rest!
You can eat all of the blossom, though the stamen is extremely bitter, and so I've always removed it. Squash blossoms are nice chopped over salads, on top of frittatas, or stuffed with ricotta and fried. John claims to like his battered with nutritional yeast, but for me, tempura batter is the way to go.
Happy experimenting, and happy spring!
- Christiana Thomas