Volunteer food + locally produced food = delicious.
Adirondack Lifestyle recipe included.
It has been an outstanding year for wild strawberries in my backyard and likely everywhere in the Adirondacks. Through some magic and the perfect mix of sun and rain, the wild strawberries have been producing berries for at least six weeks, and they are still going. This year’s crop is also bountiful - the berries are a trifle larger and there are more of them than in past years.
The oodles of Adirondack wild berries have made some creatures very happy here at Adirondack Lifestyle HQ in Lake Placid. I realize not everyone is into macro photography, but indulge me and have a look at the strawberries in the photo above. Notice the large berry on the left, the one with the hole in it. That is what happens when you turn your back on a sweet, ripe berry and a chipmunk.
The chipmunk is not the only one who enjoys wild strawberries. I have been eating them fresh off the stem and plain, sometimes with yogurt, but mostly unadorned and seconds off after being picked. There is a huge patch of them growing between the back patio and our clothes drying line. My walk through the wild strawberry patch to the clothesline on a warm sunny day makes laundry a pleasant task. The fragrance of sun-warmed berries reminds me of summertime in my mother’s kitchen, thick with the scent of homemade strawberry jam.
The lifestyle hound likes them plain and fresh off the stem too, but my husband the resident biologist prefers them baked into buckwheat pancakes.
However, although he likes wild strawberry buckwheat pancakes, the resident biologist is even happier about the bears who are enjoying all the wild berries this year. The number of bear complaints and problems with bear/human interactions in the Adirondacks that have been reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is lower than average. That means no late night emergency calls because a bear broke into someone’s camp. Everyone is happy.
The health benefits incurred from eating berries is well documented. Fresh berries are some of the most powerful disease-fighting foods available. Consumption of fresh berries has been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, improved memory function, and healthy aging. However, although therapeutic, no one with a taste bud could ever confuse fresh berries with medicine. There is nothing as lovely to eat as a sweet, juicy berry picked at peak ripeness. The effort required to find and pick these tiny taste delights is well worth it; the berries are sweeter because they are smaller. In the spirit of bio mimicry, it is a scientific fact that wild berries are just like humans, as in smaller=sweeter. Okay, maybe not a scientific fact, but it works for me.
Enjoy Adirondack wild strawberries while you can — preferably consumed the moment they are plucked off their stems or baked into a hearty Adirondack breakfast.
Follow along for instructions on how to make Adirondack Wild Strawberry Locavore (Bacon) Buckwheat Pancakes.
We use locally grown or foraged food if possible. The wild strawberries showed up unbidden in our backyard, so they are today’s volunteer food.
The essential and sweet Adirondack maple syrup comes from our friends at South Meadow Farm. We are also part of a great community farm, a CSA, Mace Chasm Farm in Keeseville, New York. The eggs and bacon grease used in today’s recipe are from Mace Chasm.
Yes, bacon grease. As one who has wholeheartedly embraced the notion that bacon and fat are health foods if they are produced organically and grass-fed, my husband used bacon drippings to grease the pancake skillet in this recipe. One could use coconut oil instead, but as Ed said, “You could use coconut oil, but why would you if you have bacon grease?” Vegetarians and those not bacon-afflicted should feel free to use coconut oil to grease the pancake griddle.
Adirondack Wild Strawberry Locavore (Bacon) Buckwheat Pancakes
Makes four large pancakes
1 cup freshly picked Wild Strawberries
1 Large Mace Chasm Farm Egg, slightly beaten
½ cup Milk of your choice
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon Molasses
In a mixing bowl with a pouring spout, mix together the slightly beaten egg, milk, canola oil, and molasses.
3/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
1.5 teaspoon Baking Powder
.5 teaspoon Baking Soda
.25 teaspoon Sea Salt
Mix dry ingredients together.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg/milk mixture, and stir until well mixed, but do not over-mix. Try not to be too fussy about lumps. Lumps are fine.
Heat the pancake griddle or cast iron skillet to medium low. Add a tablespoon of Mace Chasm bacon drippings or coconut oil to the griddle or skillet and heat well.
Pour pancake batter onto the hot skillet and sprinkle as many wild berries on the pancake as your heart desires.
“You could use coconut oil, but why would you if you have bacon grease?”
It is time to flip the flapjack when little bubbles form on the top of the pancake and start to pop. You can also cheat and check to see if the other side if nicely browned by lifting the edge of the pancake with a spatula, but it is more fun to make a guess based on the bubbles. Don’t worry about hurting the strawberries when you flip the pancake. They are stuck there and are now one with the pancake.
Bubble watching is fun. Do more of it.
Once the flipped pancake is nicely browned on the strawberry side, remove from the griddle and serve with softened butter and warmed Adirondack maple syrup.
Do not glance askance at the suggestion to use bacon drippings for grease on the griddle, like I did at first. I am a convert. The background bacon flavor blended beautifully with the pronounced and slightly strong tastes of buckwheat and maple syrup, but did not overwhelm the delicate essence of wild strawberry.
More Adirondack Lifestyle Recipes