Savory Spinach Pancakes aka Pinaattiletut

A delicious finnish speciality

How great is it when you can grow something of your own and then use it in your cooking/baking? :) I am absolutely excited about each and every thing that I get from the garden, even if it comes with a lot of work and not a 100% success rate :D Well, not even close to 100% to be honest :D However, I was surprised by a very big spinach harvest from the garden and decided to re-create some Finnish recipes from my childhood to use up all the fresh spinach. Also, today I will speak a bit about spinach, growing it and what I noticed when planting it for the very first time (note, I am really a newbie when it comes to gardening and growing own plants), so if you are not very keen on that, then you can scroll down directly to the recipe :)

As said​, I am very new to both gardening and growing own plants, whether that is edible or non-edible. Last year autumn we got a city garden with our family and started with all the work there. To start with, there was no patch for growing vegetables, so that was the first thing to do. We picked the spot and started removing all of the trees and the grass that was growing there. To say it was a lot of work is to say nothing, it was really really hard and took us quite a lot of time. But already in the autumn we had the vegetable patch ready, cleared from all that used to grow there earlier. When the spring came the exciting part started, shopping for seeds :) As with everything else, I got a bit too excited and managed to buy too many things for the area that we have.. Ups! :D Well, you don´t actually have to plant everything, so I just chose what were the things I wanted to grow the most and left the rest of the seeds for later. My suggestion would be, planning :) Just draw the area that you have on paper and divide it into as many lines as you can fit (leaving some space in between for you to attend the plants later) and then plan what you want to plant. This way it is less likely that you will run out of space :) 

I realize I should have done more research and also I should have done as suggested on the packaging of the seeds.. But, I thought I was clever, so I just did as I did :D When planting I did not leave enough space between each of the seeds, which is very important! As it can result in the plants having not enough space for growth and also it allows any disease or bugs that are harmful to your plants to spread very easily. ​This is exactly what happened to me, unfortunately. I noticed that once my spinach started growing it was almost completely eaten by some little black bugs that I found on the back of the leaves.. This made me very upset and so I did some research. I found that planting too close can cause this as well as not attending to the plants well enough, like picking the weeds. Quilty and quilty :( So what I did then was, I removed all of the affacted leaves off the plants and I also removed some plants completely to make some space between them. I also covered the plants with some garden fleece, but only for like a week or so. Now, I cannot say what exactly was the thing that helped, but something did help and the rest of the spinach was healthy and I was able to harvest a lot in the end. Oh, and also I did not see these bugs on my spinach anymore.

At some point, after about a couple of weeks from my first harvest, I think, I noticed that the taste of the spinach is slightly changing, it was getting a bit bitter. Also I noticed that from the middle of the plant a big stem was starting to grow. So I sat down and did some research online. I found out that the time for the spinach was coming close to its end and it needs to be picked before it goes very bitter. That means, when the spinach starts to grow the flower stem, which appears in the middle of the plant, the leaves become bitter and it won´t really grow much further. This is the time when you want to pick the leaves and remove the plants. However, no need to be sad, as you can plant some more to replace them and you will have some more harvest in a couple of weeks time :) I was a bit surprised to be honest, as I thought spinach would be like salad, you pick some and then it grows back, and you have harvest throughout the whole summer. Unfortunately that was not the case and I was able to harvest my spinach only for about a month. Also I think the warmer the weather is the faster the spinach grows and the shorter time it grows. That is why it is good to also save some space in the freezer for any extra that you will not be able to use up right away :)

I hope these tips or to be more precise, my failures will be helpful for you in your gardening adventures :) I would just say, don´t get discouraged even if everything doesn´t go as planned. You will learn a lot and it will get better every time :) Even though I am not even close to being an expert, I will still be very happy to answer any of your questions about growing spinach or gardening. Feel free to ask me in the comments :)

Back to the pancakes, I hope you will enjoy this savory spinach pancake recipe from my childhood :) I must admit, these pancakes were one of my favorite school foods :) 

Happy Baking!

Step by Step Video

RECIPE

Savory Spinach Pancakes

A delicious Finnish speciality

​INGREDIENTS

  • 80g fresh spinach

  • 2 eggs

  • 150ml kefir/buttermilk/milk

  • 100g flour

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • dry garlic powder (optional)

  • olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash the spinach well and remove any hard stalks. Add the spinach to a small pot and either cover with boiling water or cover with cold water, season with some salt and bring to boil. Once boiling allow to boil for about five minutes. Then remove from heat and strain through a sieve, and with a help of a spoon press as much liquid from the spinach. Then chop the spinach finely and leave aside to cool.

  2. To prepare the batter, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks with kefir just until combined.

  3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and sieve them into the wet ingredients, first about half, mixing shortly in between, and then the rest. Mix the dry ingredients in well so that you have a smooth lump-free batter.

  4. Season with salt, black pepper and dry garlic powder, and mix in the spices shortly.

  5. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the egg whites to the batter, one half first, folding in carefully until almost combined, then add the rest and fold until almost combined. Now add the spinach and continue folding until the spinach is mixed in well. Make sure you have no big lumps of spinach in the batter.

  6. Heat a frying pan on low to medium heat with a little olive oil. Portion the batter with a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop and fry for about a couple of minutes on each side until the pancakes are golden on both sides.

  7. Serve the pancakes cool or cold with some lingonberry jam.

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