Ah, all too soon the first signs of fall are emerging. That bitter frost is starting to make its move on the garden and assassinate many of the helpless plants. For the summer produce, this means time is beginning to dwindle, particularly for the dainty leaves left shivering on the basil.
While I’m not yet ready to embrace the cold days that lay ahead, I’ll open up my kitchen to fall and winter squashes with welcoming arms. But before I say my farewells to the summer garden, I’m taking as much of it as I can with me to the freezer.
Every year, as the first frost sets in, I harvest all the remaining green-outfitted basil in my garden and get my food processor going. It’s a tradition my mom always carried out since before I can remember, continually gracing our plate with a taste of summer even in the coldest of winter days. For me, after the first few snows, the only way to get through the rest of winter is to remember summer’s on its way. A little summer heaven in the kitchen always helps to feed this fire.
While I love all of the nuances and variety that each east coast season brings, I’m a warm weathered girl at heart. Which is why I’m not wasting one bit of these last few days of short-sleeved temps. And I’m not wasting my precious basil either. Besides, the more filled the freezer is, the less your fridge has to work to keep items cold. Just another reason to freeze up some pesto.
Fresh pesto can be an all-year around treat if you just do a little planning ahead. If you make enough, it will last you well into the late winter months without going bad. Use tape on the containers to mark the date it was made if you plan on making several batches before summer’s end.
- -6 medium cloves garlic
- -3 heaping, packed cups of basil
- -1 cup walnuts or pine nuts
- -1 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- -3 tsp. salt
- -1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pulse garlic in a food processor. Add in basil, nutritional yeast, walnuts/pine nuts, and salt. Begin to puree ingredients, slowly drizzling in the olive oil through the top of the food processor. Add a few additional Tbsp. of olive oil or warm water if pesto needs thinned.
- Divide into container and freeze immediately. Or toss with pasta, use on bread/pizza/etc.