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alternative pesto ideas / recipes  RSS feed

 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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It's easy to get stuck on 'pesto= basil, parmesan, pineuts etc'
But basically pesto means 'to crush, or pound' in Italian, which leaves the field wide open
My pestos generally contain:
something green
Something oily
Something nutty
Something garlicky

I just made a giant batch of reasonably trad pesto using Greek mini basil (it copes with dry soil!), Genovese basil (trad pesto basil)
and some of my flatleaf parsley (anyone feel like starting a 'what to do with an abundance of parsley' thread...?
Sunflower and cashew nuts, cheap Bulgarian 'parmesan', rice bran oil (I would've used olive, but I forgot to buy some) , and loads of garlic

I eat a lot of 'Asianish' food, and before the herbs die off, I plan to make pesto with :
coriander, Thai basil, standard and Vietnamese mint
cashews and sesame seeds
rice bran oil
garlic

I freeze the finished pesto in icecube trays, then pack the cubes in containers in my beloved chest freezer.
 
Bill Ramsey
Posts: 86
Location: SW Georgia, zone 8b
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I was just thinking about the same topic as I turned on the computer this morning. I spent yesterday evening researching information about the many Lepidium peppergrasses and I was wondering how the L. virginicus would taste if I could get enough of it. The mustard green pesto that I just put in my morning omelet is some gooooooood stuff!
 
John Elliott
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Leila, I was with you until the last line. Freezer?! Aaaaack! Pesto is supposed to be a celebration of the fresh taste of greens straight from the garden.

I suppose preserving things and saving them for later is good planning, but something gets lost in the process. I think one part of permaculture is going back to the culture of eating what's in season. Right now I'm reveling in strawberries and asparagus, soon it will be tomatoes and basil, but jars, cans, and the freezer are only for when harvesting the garden comes up short.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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I haven't tried mustard pesto....I will soon, it is taking off this spring. we like arugula pesto and straight oregano pesto is wonderful. Really any mix of greens and herbs is great. My husband doesn't really like basil (or very much garlic, for that matter) so our pestos have never been normal.
 
Bill Ramsey
Posts: 86
Location: SW Georgia, zone 8b
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We had several cold snaps this past winter which brought temps that I expected to really damage our mustard so I would harvest lots of it before the serious cold hit. That's when our mustard/almond pesto came to be and freezing it in glass jars has worked wonderfully. I guess the olive oil helps to keep it in "like new" condition when it thaws out. We will certainly do that again next year. The mustard is making seeds right now so I'm leaving it alone until those pods are nearly ready to open.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I appreciate the sentiment of eating in season but in practice pesto in the freezer is a delight to me. Maybe I'll be a fresh-only connoisseur someday when the pitter patter of little feet fades.

I have so many garlic scapes every year, they make a great addition to pesto. Nettles are a good component too. I often use sunflower seeds because they are inexpensive but pecans are my favorite. I've never used macadamia nuts but I bet they'd be great.

I always plant extra parsley in hopes of attracting swallowtail butterfly caterpillars so that is a common pesto ingredient here too. I recommend it as a smoothie ingredient. Italian flat leaf parsley, cucumber and frozen banana is a delicious summer combination.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Ok, it's my thread, so I can derail it if I like
John Elliott wrote:Leila, I was with you until the last line. Freezer?! Aaaaack! Pesto is supposed to be a celebration of the fresh taste of greens straight from the garden

Go for it on strictly seasonal eating John!
My freezer is a celebration of preserving the glut and supplimenting a monotonous winter diet with out of season yummy things.
John Elliott wrote: I think one part of permaculture is going back to the culture of eating what's in season

I'm very much into eating things when they are in season,
but growing and aquiring food specifically to be preserved and eaten out of season is an important part of how I operate...
So my freezer lets me eat green beans in winter, as well as their dried and fermented friends.

Now if I bought beans grown in Zimbabwe at the supermarket in winter, that'd be something else
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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Pesto is the thing I do freeze a bit of to extend into the winter...our tiny refrigerator has an even tinier freezer and pesto gets a special spot there. We preserve a lot of food for winter in a variety of ways both foraged and out of the garden so that we are not dependent on grocery store produce or a hoop house/greenhouse.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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We used to have a chest freezer as well as the fridge freezer and we did our best to freeze as much of the harvest as possible. Then an electrical worker in the basement unplugged the freezer and forgot to plug it back in What a terrible waste! There was even a big ol turkey in there, ewwww.

So we stopped filling that freezer and last year were glad about that. We lost power for more than a week twice, first Superstorm Sandy and then a blizzard. At least during the blizzard we could put things outside to keep cool, but there are critters to contend with. The electrical grid is a blessing and a trap.

I did put our own blueberries in our breakfast smoothie this morning. We froze so many blueberries last summer! Bumper crop.

(Thread topic effectively hijacked..)


 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Bill Ramsey wrote:We had several cold snaps this past winter which brought temps that I expected to really damage our mustard so I would harvest lots of it before the serious cold hit. That's when our mustard/almond pesto came to be and freezing it in glass jars has worked wonderfully. I guess the olive oil helps to keep it in "like new" condition when it thaws out. We will certainly do that again next year. The mustard is making seeds right now so I'm leaving it alone until those pods are nearly ready to open.


I freeze in glass, also....wide mouth half pints for pesto, widemouth quarts and pints for everything else. some times the pesto has a thin darker layer on top but just underneath it is so bright green. Lots of times it is not really pesto I guess, but only olive oil and basil...I add garlic and toasted sunflower seeds after thawing.


sorry, Leila...we'll trust you to get us back on track
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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Now John, I'm with you on seasonal eating, but how long exactly is your growing season? If I didn't freeze, I wouldn't have non-fermented, non-root veggies from October to June (and that's if I start my seedlings under lights, so we use the electricity one way or the other). You might find you change your tune if you lived further north. I'm looking forward to getting better at fermentation, and to digging a root cellar, but for now the freezer (and my canning jars) are a joy and a pleasure.

I get around losing power in the winter by keeping my freezer on our porch...it's under freezing out there pretty much all winter, and when we lost power during the icestorm this winter everything stayed rock solid.

To bring it back around to the topic at hand - I'm looking forward to making some pesto from the little patch of nettles I started last year (one of our very first greens around here), probably with walnuts this year, but I also would like to start growing hazelnuts, and I think they would be a lovely combo with the nettles. Maybe with the chives that I've just started gathering from the garden...
 
John Elliott
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Jessica Gorton wrote:Now John, I'm with you on seasonal eating, but how long exactly is your growing season?


All.year.long.

That's why I'm here in Georgia, although this last winter, when we regressed back to being zone 8a makes me wonder if I shouldn't be further south. There are different seasons here, some things you only find in February and March, and then there are other plants that wait until July and August to have their season of bounty. I have a seasonal greenhouse that goes up in October and comes down in March that allows me to winter over some of the more tender plants, but there are still things like chicory and collards and salsify that need no such help to make it through the winter.

I'm still learning about how to adjust with the seasons, how best to overwinter things. I've had spotty success with lemongrass; one winter it came through, this last winter, even in the greenhouse it didn't make it. Oh well, live and learn. Speaking of which, has anyone tried making pesto out of lemongrass? Might be a little stringy.
 
Matt Smaus
Posts: 37
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Topical thread! Last night I made a batch of aby Arugula pesto -- my God, that's good. Then a batch of dandelion greens pesto -- my God, that's good, too. I am freezing cubes in ice trays right now. This evening I will make a "spring medley" of dandelion greens, arugula, and the nettles growing all around us. I will probably throw in a fistful of spring grass, just for effect.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Judith Browning wrote:sorry, Leila...we'll trust you to get us back on track
I find seasonality and food preservation endlessly fascinating-
if we plonk 'pesto' into the conversations at random intervals, as far as I'm concerned we're right on track!

I'm sure there must be old 'ethics of food preservation' type threads-maybe I'll dig one up.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Hi Leila. I not sure if anyone has mentioned using Ostrich fiddlehead fern as the green ingredient in pesto. Here in North East USA its spring and my super sweet fiddle head fern patch has broken ground! The"garlicky" ingredient could be wild onion / garlic ( not sure which wild Allium I have here), but they have a strong yet sweet garlic / onion flavor. Traditionally I use these wild Alliums with early wild spring greens and shoots. This year I used the wild Allium with young bamboo shoots, asparagus and the fiddleheads. Possibly next year I will try a fiddlehead pesto. Here are some photos...…
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Ostrich Fiddlehead Fern
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Ostrich Fiddlehead Fern
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Wild Allium
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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I've always heard that you have to cook fiddleheads before you eat them...am I misled?
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Hi, I'm speaking about a specific fern call the Ostrich fern Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ptertis pensylvanica). I eat them raw, very young unfurled fonds, not in large quantities such as 4 or 5 in salads. It's the only fiddlehead I grow and eat. I've never had an adverse reaction. In larger quantities I usually stir-fry them. They are very delicate and sweet when young. I too have been told that other species of fiddleheads should be cooked or not eaten at all. Hopefully a knowledgeable permie will confirm this as I'm not an expert. If someone decides to make pesto using fiddleheads, I would recommend cooking them before adding them to the pesto mix.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I made an awesome red pesto last week-
roasted the last wrinkly corno del toro peppers and whizzed them with garlic, cashews and olive oil
 
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