journal, thrift kitchen

Pesto Pleasures

DSC_0038

I went through two book shelves this week (very hard work for me) and found a box of books I know I will never read. And I did something for the first time – I took them to FireHouse books and exchanged them for $12 in store credit, which I then turned around and used on 1 book I really enjoy. It’s called “Voices of American Homemakers”. It is a collection of interviews conducted by the Oral History Project of the National Extension of Homemakers Council. Beulah Rawlings, 76, of Indiana said when asked about food preservation, “We raised what we ate, and ate what we raised. You didn’t go into town and buy it, so it really was important to put your garden out and really take care of it, and take care of it when it was ready to harvest.”

It makes me feel a little guilty about putting my garden out late, then only half assing it these past two months. If it was crucial to me vs a hobby, and granted I love that it is not and we won’t starve if the weather sucks, maybe I would have made it more of a priority. I do have a few cucumbers, but not as many as I could have if I would have planted them when I should and watered them like I knew I was supposed to.

DSC_0050

“When I was a girl up North, before pressure canners, we never canned much vegetables because it was all put in the cellar. We canned fruits and tomatoes, but that was about the only thing we canned…. In our cellars we put in our carrots and potatoes and onions and turnips and we even had a big bin fixed up from celery…” – Elsie Gould, 86, Florida

I really like the idea of a root cellar. Mike (who owns the yard where the garden is and is in on it with me) has a nice semi finished basement and we are going to try to store all our potatoes and onions and garlic down there. I sure hope it works okay and we can enjoy our harvest as long as possible.

We have a load of basil, dill, parsley, and other herbs. Plus many cherry tomatoes and some peppers on the way. I decided to do some small batch preserving this week for the basil that is plentiful. Pesto was totally the answer to how to keep basil fresh for the winter months.

DSC_0031

Presto! It’s Pesto!
{20 minutes or less from picking to enjoying}

Ingredients:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted flax seed
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Add a hand full of basil, a forth of the flax seed, garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil to the food processor. Pulse on high. Keep adding basil, olive oil, and flax seed until all the basil is minced.

Fill jar with pesto, top off with olive oil to 1/2″ from rim, and store in the frig for up to 2 months. I’m not sure how it will freeze. And I was going to pressure can it, but I wanted to eat it right away, so I didn’t. Ha. I think that you could store it for the winter if you pressure canned it or froze it. I’m going to do more batches of pesto this weekend, so in 3 months I’ll let you know how the canning and freezing go.

DSC_0035

Molly says you should check out these great resources for preserving fresh produce so you don’t screw it up (she can be a bit critical sometimes, I suppose all cats are):

Canning USA – we really liked their videos on salsa and tomatoes in general.

Pick Your Own.org – she has a lot of good recipes for pickling more than just cucumbers, which helped a lot with my pepper pickling.

Ball has a great section of tutorials for low and high acid canning that you can go through on the site or download the pdf {link}

National Center of Home Preservation – this is probably THE best source for safe preserving methods and recommendations

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables –  I picked a book from the Ames Public Library today called  And it is packed with a ton of great info on all types of preserving from drying to canning to cold storage. Plus there are 150 delicious recipes for making all sorts of chuntneys, relishes, pickles, vinegars, jams, and jellies. (this is totally reiterating what I wrote in my last post about canning, because this book is still my favorite {link to jam post})


5 thoughts on “Pesto Pleasures

  1. Hi…I freeze pesto every summer and it is great! A whiff and taste of summer in the middle of winter. It stays nice and green. I think canning it would kill the flavour.

    Just my two cents worth,
    Lorrie

  2. Thanks Lorrie! That is exactly what I was wondering about. I was thinking canning it would make it turn to mush but hopefully retain some flavor. And I was worried the consistency would get all freeze sludgy/freezer burnt when defrosted! Now I don’t have to worry and can just pop it all in the freezer. Oh I do love the craft community! Thanks again!

    On a side note, my good friend is allergic to nuts so I thought I would try it with flax seed vs pine nuts and it worked out great! So if allergic to nuts, fear no more, just make your own :)

  3. Pesto freezes beautifully. I freeze mine in ice cube trays and then pop the cubes out into bags.
    This was a lovely post – I really enjoyed the quotes from the book.

  4. Pesto freezes beautifully. I freeze mine in ice cube trays and then pop the cubes out into bags.
    This was a lovely post – I really enjoyed the quotes from the book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.