There's something beautiful about cooking according to what you have on hand. It's what I love about having a garden; there's constant opportunity and responsibility to use what the plants are providing. And if you can't or don't want to use the veg yet, then you turn to preservation so that nothing is wasted and the joy of the food is prolonged.
I always find that the hard part isn't making the preserves, but finding methods through which to enjoy eating them. Every year we make berry jams and apple butters, but every winter I struggle to figure out how to make them palatable. As a result, I often go for the more appetizing dishes, ignoring the preserves that I don't enjoy, so that come next year, they've gone bad and haven't even
For those of us who do a lot of home preservation, this accidental food waste is a real problem. You put so much time and effort into preserving large quantities of food, but if the final product isn't appetizing, it will sit in a corner until it goes bad. It's a horrible feeling, especially if you keep up with the news, but it's something that happens when there is enough food that you don't have to force down the unappetizing stuff.
I am constantly mulling over how to use up various preserves, and I have an easier time of doing it with savoury foods, such as corn mash or chilli, but the sweet stuff, like jams and butters I find completely unappetizing. I feel like this is a weird problem to have, since most people seem to adore jam, but I hate it on anything excepting cookies, which I also have a hard time finding appetizing.
The solution to my hardships came in the form of a gift from my good friend Avery. It was a recipe for a "single serve eggy pancake," which is the best christmas present ever. I really like this recipe, since it seems to cover all the bases: it's fairly quick to make and eat; it's a very filling and satisfying meal; it does a lot with cheap ingredients; and it works with a world of different toppings, allowing for endless flavour experiments. It just feels like an overall practical dish.
On top of all those reasons above, I've personally enjoyed an additional one: it is really tasty with preserves. All those jams and butters which I hate to eat are disappearing as I eat this pancake for breakfast literally every day. As a topping for the jams I like to sprinkle some fruit for texture and flavour. I think that the fruit showcases another practical element of this pancake; you only need a very small amount to make the dish perfect, an important detail if you want to use the small harvests of fruit from a personal garden.
Single Serve Eggy Pancake:
a pat of butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbs powdered milk
2 tbs canned squash*
2 tbs water
1 tbs neutral oil, like canola
*I use homemade canned squash, it uses up preserves and makes the pancake a little softer in texture. If you don't have canned squash, replace the powdered milk, squash, and water with a 1/4 cup of milk.
Begin by heating up a nine inch frying pan on low heat. Add enough butter to evenly coat the pan.
Mix the flour, sugar, and baking soda together in a small bowl.
Combine the powdered milk, squash, water, oil, and egg in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients. Mix well, whisking may be necessary if the squash was omitted.
Pour the batter into the frying pan and cook on low for several minutes, until the top no longer jiggles, then flip and cook for another minute. Both sides of the pancake should be a dark golden brown.
Top with whatever jams, butters, or syrups you fancy. Consider adding some fruit and/or nuts. Maybe some cheese.
My Favorite Flavour Combos:
- Apples with cheddar cheese
- Apple-berry butter with fresh apple bits
- Berry butter with strawberries
- Raspberry jam and chocolate nibs
- Tart apple sauce with crunchy freeze dried raspberries
As I've only had this recipe during the winter, most of my favorite toppings involve preserves or fruit which keeps, like apples, but I am so looking forward to using freshly grown fruit from my garden this summer. I hope you experiment with toppings according to your own tastes and ingredients!