One of the character-building parts of planting a garden is having to wait for harvest. I know last year, as I was putting my little basil seeds in the ground, that I was already dreaming of pesto and caprese salad...and that those dreams would need to wait a few months!
But just because the gardens are only sprouting doesn't mean there isn't already a bountiful harvest waiting! Watch our video to learn how to make a tasty and healthful pesto out of wild greens that you can forage from your backyard right now. It's super easy, and all you need is a knife, a bowl, and a sense of adventure.
Ingredients (makes enough for about 1 cup of pesto):
--1/3 cup sunflower seeds, ground fine. (I used a coffee grinder--a mortar and pestle can also work)
--2 large cloves garlic
--1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
--1/2 teaspoon sea salt
--sunflower seed oil or olive oil--at least 1/2 cup? You add oil by feel, so just have a bottle handy :)
--at least two big handfulls of greens
Now, for the pesto I made in the video, I used dandelion greens, hairy bittercress, chives, and chickweed. Honestly, you can use any combination of edible greens that you can find--other seasonal "weeds" like wild spinach, ramps, and garlic mustard would be absolutely delicious--just be sure that you are using good sense while foraging. Don't collect from places that have been sprayed with chemical pesticides or fertilizers, are near roadsides (lots of chemical overspray from passing cars!), or from places where you're trespassing. Also, if you are collecting in a forest, be sure to be respectful--don't clear out an entire patch of greens or unnecessarily uproot bulbs you aren't using--just collect what you need and leave enough that it can recover with next year's growth.
...Unless, of course, you're using invasive garlic mustard. Then, by all means, be as greedy as you want with that sucker!
1. Press the garlic with a garlic press, or chop finely. Mix in a large bowl with ground sunflower seeds, salt and pepper, and enough oil that it sticks together.
2. Wash the greens thoroughly, and chop as finely as possible (give yourself time to do this--I usually take at least five minutes of straight chopping!)
3. Add greens to nut-garlic paste, and then slowly add as much oil as it takes to form a beautiful, silky paste that slightly flows when you tilt the bowl. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.
And you're done! I told you it was easy.
You can add this wonderful pesto to pasta, of course, but it is also delicious on eggs, toasted bread, or pita chips.
As a side note, you can substitute any nut for the sunflower seeds, or even use the traditional pine nuts if you have them (they are pricey though!). Andrew and I just like using things we know we can one day raise on our land...dreaming those dreams of self-sufficiency any way we can!
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
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Simple Life Homestead