Wild Spring Pancake - Shrubs, Trees, Tubers, and Weeds - with Forsythia and Maple Flowers
Spring! Time to eat some flowers from the trees and shrubs -- in a pancake! Come into my post and join me!
Step 1. Forage Flowers, Roots, and Leaves
Spring moves fast. The Jerusalem Artichokes will be sending shoots up from their underground tubers, bringing the end of the time for eating them. And early spring shrubs and trees are starting to flower. Some are edible, so I better get busy!
This photo collage shows the plants that I foraged. I include their scientific names in the plant list at the bottom of this post, because common names vary from place to place. Do you recognize any of them? Which ones do you have growing around you? These plants are adaptable and grow in a lot of places around the world.
Step 2. Make the Batter and Cook Those Pancakes
Back in the kitchen, I lay my harvest out to double-check that I don't have any non-edible plants or insects. The flowers are delicate and clean because they are high off the ground and it's been raining for days. So I just let the flowers sit for awhile to make sure any insects or spiders have a chance to leave. I do rinse the chives. And I scrub those Jerusalem Artichokes really well. If I have to break off a knob to get the soil out of a crevice, I do that, but I don't bother peeling them.
I grate the Jerusalem Artichokes and chop the chives, maple flowers, and some of the forsythia flowers. The flowers don't really need to be chopped, though. I keep some flowers off to the side to put on top of my pancakes.
My batter is simple -- 4 eggs, 1/4 cup water, and 2 Tablespoons of wheat flour. If you want to go flourless, just leave it out and cut out the water. Whip or beat the eggs until they are light. Then fold in all the chopped and grated things. Try to keep the eggs full of air, but it's not really necessary.
I use a little butter in a cast iron skillet on medium-low heat. Olive oil would work well, too. I cook these pancakes slowly, so the chives and grated tubers cook a little. When the top is set, I flip them over.
Step 3. Enjoy Those Pancakes!
On the plate, I top my pancakes with more flowers. I serve it up with a little bowl of home-canned pear butter from my Barlett Pears. If you don't have pear butter, these pancakes would be great with applesauce, too! I really like Jerusalem Artichokes in savory light pancakes like these. They are like light potato pancakes, but there's no starch in a Jerusalem Artichoke. They have a sweet, smoky flavor that goes well with the chives. The slight tannin flavor of the red maple flowers and sweet-bitterness of the forsythia blend in well. These savory pancakes have enough flavor, I don't even need any salt or pepper.
- Jerusalem Artichoke - Helianthus tuberosus - tubers fall to spring
- Wild Chives - Allium schoeneprasum - leaves late winter through spring
- Forsythia – Forsythia suspensa - flowers early spring
- Red Maple – Acer rubrum - flowers early spring
What Do You Think?
Are you seeing many spring flowers on trees and shrubs in your area? Do you eat any flowers from trees or shrubs? Would you eat any of these flowers or Jerusalem Artichokes? I hope you get a chance to eat a flowerful pancake sometime. It is worth making, for sure!
I write about foraging because I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wilderness.
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