Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Harvest Time

Last October, I was pleased with myself for uprooting my basil before it froze.  Unfortunately, I didn't soak the dirt with enough water, so much of the harvest dried and fell off before I actually made a few measly bags of pesto.

This weekend my helpers and I picked a big bag full of leaves, ready to process.  Then the basement freezer died, I got distracted, and our basil waited in the fridge.  I pulled it out Monday afternoon, thankful that it looked no worse for the wear.
It was time to assemble some pesto!

I wanted to run the batches through the food processor without delays, so I set up an assembly line.  Each pile of basil needed 8 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of walnuts, and 1/2 cup olive oil. 
I had my helpers peel and crush five separate piles of garlic.

After it's cut, basil turns brown (or at least khaki) right away (one reason I try to make all my batches quickly), so I preserve its color with "Ever Fresh", a combination of sugar and ascorbic acid.  I didn't have enough this time, so we supplemented by crushing vitamin C (ascorbic acid!) tablets.  Easy and cheap--the way to go . . .

I was so focussed that Rebecca was a few minutes late to her nature class, but gosh darn it, we finished the job!  All except the clean up, that is.  Oh well, the mess managed to wait for us to get home.  ;-)
Can you see in the close up how ugly the basil gets if it isn't packed up airtight right away?
So here's my happy news:  ten tiny bags of pesto, frozen flat and tucked away in the freezer.  This will last us till next year's harvest.
Bon appetit!