Winter is Coming… Time to Put That Herb Garden to Use Before its Too Late
Let me guess…
When you look out into your garden you get a sense of accomplishment. You’re proud that you’ve managed to nurture those seeds into beautiful lush greenery. Maybe you smile a little to yourself?
That smile probably turns into sad face when you realize nature will kill everything off with the coming winter.
All that time – wasted. Why do you do this to yourself every year?
I’m right there with you. I’ve felt sadness when the first winter blows through and offs my hard work.
But it doesn’t all have to go to waste! I’ve found a way to get one last use out of my herb garden. And with it get a sense of completeness to summer. It makes accepting autumn and winter a little easier to bare with. It involves putting all your beautiful herbs to good use before its too late.
Here is one great recipe for cleaning out the garden. That’s heavy on the herbs and on the flavour – the perfect farewell to summer.
Any Herb Pesto
The first recipe (and possibly the one you’ll need) is pesto. This universal recipe can turn any excess herb into an excellent dish starter. Pesto is wonderful eaten straight or cooked into a sauce. It even makes a gorgeous garnish.
Here’s something you may not know…
Pesto can be made from about anything. While traditional pesto is made using basil and pine nuts, you can substitute the basil for any leafy green vegetable and pine nuts with any other nut.
Some recipes call for parsley and walnuts, others for cilantro and pecans. This blogger even found recipes calling for kale and cashews!
The flavours will obviously differ slightly, but not as much as you may think. The nuts contribute most of the flavour, making the herb more of an accessory flavour. And even at that, most nuts taste similar when blended with the olive oil and garlic.
Make your pesto with whatever herb you have an abundance of. Choose your favourite nut (or whatever is in the pantry.)
Want to clean out the garden in a flash? This one is for you. Experiment with several combinations to find your favourites.
- 2 cups packed green herb (basil, parsley, mint, cilantro…)
- ¼ cup nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts…)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup olive oil, separate
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
You’ll also need a food processor or good blender, but you’re a master chef so you already have one, right? They’re a lot of fun. Get one.
- Put the greens, nuts, and garlic in the food processor. No need to turn it on full blast, use the pulse for a few seconds to break everything down into coarsely ground pieces.
- Add the first portion of olive oil – ½ a cup.
- Now turn on the processor to a low setting. Grinding everything down in to a chunky/creamy substance only takes a couple moments.
- If you’re making a big batch and want to store some, now is the time to package it up. Only add the remaining ingredients when it’s time to serve.
- When ready to serve, put the pesto in a bowl with the final ¼ cup of olive oil and the ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix by hand – no need for power tools.
Voila! You’re done. You have a delicious pesto that can be eaten on top of bread or toast. Or try sautéing it with some cream to make a sinful pasta sauce. The healthier version of this is simply pesto tossed with pasta and a little additional olive oil, sans the cream.
In my next instalment, I’ll go through the other most popular herbs found in home gardens.
You’ll soon have even more delicious herb-based recipes to help you bid fond farewell to summer and welcome autumn with open, appreciative, arms.
Written by Brent Mercer for Live to Eat.
Brent is a food and beverage marketer. He combined his professional marketing experience with his love of culinary arts to help businesses in the food and beverage industry grow their brands. Come meet him at www.crunchycopy.com