Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Herbs Pesto Style

The herbs were ready to be picked but I was putting the inevitable off. Picking them would mean acknowledging winter is a-coming. I also was mourning the loss of fresh herbs 'out back' for my cooking pleasure.

Setting all this aside, I gathered the strength and cut my basil, oregano, parsley, chives, (some) borage down. I rinsed them well then let them dry overnight.

I've been experimenting with the recipes from Keeping Food Fresh: Old World Techniques and Recipes by The Gardeners and Farmers of Terre Vivante. This recipe is adapted from there.

1. Chop mix of herbs very finely (the more variation of herbs, the more interesting the flavour).
2. Chop/Mince garlic (vary amount according to your taste. I used a whole bulb for about 4 cups of chopped herbs)
3. Mix herbs and garlic with coarse salt (about 1 teaspoon per 1 pound of herbs).
4. Place mixture in sterilized jars (smaller is better). Avoid allowing too much air in, but don't pack herbs too tightly so that oil can penetrate them. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from top.
5. Pour over herbs about 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per 250 Ml jar and 3/4 oil per 250 ML jar. There should be a layer of oil left on top once oil has infused mixture. If not, add more oil until there is a thin layer at the top OR pack herbs in a little more firmly.
6. Tightly screw on lids and store in a cool (10- 15 degrees), dark place or keep in the fridge.

Use this to flavour pasta, vegetables, grains, salads or spread thinly on bread. It should keep for up to a year in a cool place.

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