Making pesto from the garden

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Making pesto from the garden

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:44 pm

Since the tomato season is just about gone from the local scene, I am thinking of turning my basil into pesto. I have three largish basil plants which will die with the first frost, so I am thinking that before that happens I will pull them.

Is pulling the plants, then stripping the leaves what I need to do? or do you just defoliate the plant in the garden? While we are about this I have about a pound of pine nuts in the hull. Does anyone have a sure fire method of hulling these little rascals? Rolling them between thumb and knuckle is the proscribed way, or so I am told, but I guess I am not that tough.

All input appreciated.
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Re: Making pesto from the garden

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:58 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:Since the tomato season is just about gone from the local scene, I am thinking of turning my basil into pesto. I have three largish basil plants which will die with the first frost, so I am thinking that before that happens I will pull them.

Is pulling the plants, then stripping the leaves what I need to do? or do you just defoliate the plant in the garden? While we are about this I have about a pound of pine nuts in the hull. Does anyone have a sure fire method of hulling these little rascals? Rolling them between thumb and knuckle is the proscribed way, or so I am told, but I guess I am not that tough.

All input appreciated.


Bob, when I make pesto, I strip the leaves, feeling that the flavor is in there and not in the stems. I don't know how much real difference it makes in the finished product, though.

I've never seen pine nuts in the shell! Where'd you get 'em?

Also, Mr. Weatherman, aren't we still a good month or six weeks away from first frost? We're still getting a bumper crop of tomatoes down here close to the river.
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Re: Making pesto from the garden

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Sep 09, 2006 4:41 pm

You are correct about the first frost. IIRC the average date of the first killing frost(in Lexington) is Oct 16th historically. My tomato plants (I planted 2) grew large and lush, and what tomatoes they put on were super, but they seemed to put more energy into the plant than the fruit and they are history now. One thing though is I never got one tomato with blossom rot. Squirrels (damn them) will get a half ripened tomato, the nicest one in the garden and eat just a bit and leave the rest. I am thinking that before the first frost I would pull the basil and work on stripping them in the kitchen to make it easier.

About the pine nuts in their shell, I got them thanks to our New Mexico buddy, along with some peppers that I am waiting on a rainy day to process. Thanks Larry.
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Re: Making pesto from the garden

Postby Bernard Roth » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:04 pm

When I have a lot of basil, I blend the basil with olive oil and salt and freeze. It is more verstile in that form than as pesto. I also make pesto, but I do not want all my preserved basil mixed with nuts, garlic, or cheese.
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Re: Making pesto from the garden

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:40 pm

We've been taking Paula Wolfert (Mediterranean Cooking)'s advice for years. She says to do the basil, OO, and pine nuts and freeze them in appropriate size batches. When using, thaw and add appropriate amount of cheese, garlic, and salt.
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Re: Making pesto from the garden

Postby Bob Henrick » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:14 pm

Bernard, I appreciate your way of using the excess basil. I think this is what I will do as it gives me lots more ways to use it. Might even try drying a little bit of it just to see what happens. Thanks!
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