Tonight is forecast to have frost, which will be our first frost of the season. I'm not very happy about it because I do not at all like the garden season coming to an end, and I really don't want to see winter. Fall is a lovely season but it always comes too soon, and ends too soon, and then we're thrown in the deep freeze until May.
I've put some 4 degree row covers over the remaining plants in the raised beds (except the carrots and parsnips which should be fine). I'm hoping that I'll get another week or so out of the tomatoes. We shall see how bad the frost is. After 2 nights, it is supposed to go back to "normal" fall overnight temps, which are not below freezing yet.
Today I made pesto cubes with the remaining fresh herbs from my raised beds. I didn't want them to go to waste in case the frost is significant. I had a lot of basil and parsley, and also some sage, although the sage is a perennial type and doesn't mind a bit of frost. The basil and parsley would not do well at all in frost. It was time to make frost-o pesto!
I don't use my food processor all that often, but I do use it for pesto because I find it really does the job well. I suppose a blender would be good for it as well. I have a Braun food processor - this is my second one and the first one I had lasted for a long time. I find it works very well and is reliable. I use the regular blade for pesto.
I put the herbs that I'm using into the bowl after giving them a thorough wash and spinning them out in the salad spinner to remove most of the water. You can use any blend of herbs you want, and you can also use garlic scapes. I make the garlic scape pesto earlier in the season.
I use sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in my pesto because Marc is allergic to nuts. I don't think he has actually tried pine nuts, which are the traditional nut used in pesto, but I don't want to risk it. I also recently managed to get some very fine Lucques olive oil from France at 50% off . It is a really high quality olive oil, which I think is important to use in a pesto. Sometimes I add parmesan but I didn't do so today. I can always add parmesan to the dish when I use the pesto.
I can't tell you exactly the amount of seeds I use - probably a cup or so. I just do it by eye. Then I drizzle the oil all over it and start the processor blade.
Initially, I have to use a scraper to move all the material around in the bowl to get things evenly chopped.
As I continue, I increase the speed of the blade and the chopping gets faster and the pieces are smaller. I keep scraping it down.
Eventually, it starts to look more like a paste than a mess of chopped leaves. I added a little more olive oil at this point.
Another minute or so, and I call it done. It's essentially the consistency of chunky peanut butter.
At that point, I scoop it out of the bowl and into ice cube trays. I gently press the pesto into each compartment and then pop the trays into the freezer.
In a day or two, I'll pop them out of the trays and put the cubes into ziploc bags in the freezer. Then I can pull out a cube anytime I need one. They add a wonderful taste of summer to dishes throughout the winter. Sometimes I use it on pasta, but I also use a cube or two in soups, casseroles, on baked fish, or other dishes. It's a great way to use the end-of-season fresh herbs.