Monday, July 9, 2012

Gardening and Saving Money

One of the very rewarding activities that keeps me quite busy in the summer is our garden. It is a very simple box garden. It saves money on our grocery bill and allows us to can and dehydrate the abundance that we cannot eat right away. We are still learning a great deal...particularly about bugs that bring no end of frustration...and sometimes a tear or two.

One thing we love is Pesto! We make some every year...a little bit goes a long way.

Basil fresh from our garden
Although Pine Nuts are not cheap (they're quite pricey but a better buy at Costco) you can also use a combination of Pecans and Pine Nuts or Walnuts and Pine Nuts.

This may look like green nuclear waste, but it is oh-so-good!
This was actually my second bowl. I had already frozen one big batch (below) and here is how I did it.

I freeze cupcake size batches in our freezer
As tedious as this may be, I use small "squares" of Costco's "Stretch Tight" plastic wrap and line the cupcake holes. I put a 1/2 cup of Pesto in each and stick it in the freezer. Once they are frozen, the plastic wrap will allow them to pop out very easily. I will wrap them up individually with additional wrap and then put them in a Ziploc freezer bag (quart size) for use throughout the year. I keep them in the freezer. This cannot be canned. It can keep in the refrigerator a week or two at most.

Last year I tried yo put the pesto directly into the cupcake circles, but it was difficult and messy to pop out. I had to let it thaw a bit first, pop them out, and then wrap it in the parchment paper. When I use them (I still have some), I again have to let it thaw a bit and in both cases I lose a lot of the olive oil , which is essential for blending and folding it into the dishes and it's VERY messy.  And for this reason, regular paper cupcake wrappers will not work either...IMHO.

You can use use these with chicken and fish not just pasta. Additionally, you can use it as a mayonnaise substitute when making Paninis. I do not have a Panini maker, but I improvise and the sandwiches are OUTSTANDING!!!

Here is my recipe for Pesto:
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Forever in His debt,

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