One of the goals we have this season in the Ferry household is that to not waste produce that we have grown. It overwhelms me when the garden is in full swing and I am trying to plant, weed, mulch, compost, harvest, watch a toddler, battle garden pests and juggle all the other things that life throws at me. Going into this gardening season – Jacob and I made a pact. We would become clear-cut partners in gardening with clearly defined roles. Jacob was in charge of all watering, major weeding (can you say “super cool propane torch”!?!?) and all the harvesting of vegetables. I would handle the planting, minor weeding, berry-picking and control of pests. There would be no more questioning of who did what and when it happened and we’d be able to share in the seasonality of the chores so that nobody got overwhelmed any time of the year. It was an ideal plan and it has done wonders for getting more produce grown and getting more goodness from garden to table, freezer or pantry.
My favorite herb of all time has to be basil. It smells divine and I just love the flavor that it adds to our best pasta dishes. I have struggled with basil in the past, because our growing season usually starts too late and ends too early to enjoy it fresh for any longer than a few months. But, this year I am committed to enjoying basil for longer – thanks to pesto. We have been pruning, clipping and keeping up with the abundance of basil and making pesto on an every-few-week basis. Here’s the secret to pesto – make it fresh, freeze it in dinner portion sizes (I use the old ice-cube trays I had for when I made Beckett’s baby food) and keep the recipe loose.
Here’s my “recipe”. It’s all relative and it’s totally a ballpark guess. I really enjoy tasting my food as I go, so Beckett and I are sure to dip in as we go and make sure that it tastes good.
- 4 cups of basil leaves – not loose, but not tightly packed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts – my first batch had nuts, but then I ran out and haven’t picked up any yet. It’s really just as yummy with no nuts
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves – maybe even 3 if you are working with a slightly larger batch
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Toss all the ingredients in the food processor and let ‘er whirl! Drizzle more olive oil in as needed. Spoon the pesto into an ice cube tray and freezer overnight before storing in resealable (and reusable!) plastic baggies. The recipe above yields about 18 ice cube serving sizes.
You really can’t beat the flavor of fresh pesto that is suited to your tastes. And, holy cow – is it ever cheap. We started with three basil starts this spring for a total of $5 and all the other ingredients are things we keep on hand in the house.
Enjoy! Between fresh basil and a freezer stocked with pesto – I’m ready for dinner!