Today I've been working in the kitchen, putting some summertime up for the winter. First thing this morning I went out to harvest basil. It tastes best to harvest herbs in the morning when it's cooler, the flavors in the oils are best before the heat of the day hits...although we are having a heatwave and I think it was 80 degrees already when I went out...better than 100, though!
I made a fabulous Basil Pesto that I then froze to use later. Gotta use up all that fresh basil while the gettin's good. I used little jelly jars to freeze it in. I'll use these for pizza or pasta this winter, for a fresh taste of summer! You can also freeze in ice cube trays if you need smaller amounts. Just pop them out and put in a ziploc when they are completely froze.
Basil Pesto with Sunflower Seeds
2 1/2 cups basil,washed and dried
5 cloves garlic
1/2 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted, but roasted)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt (use less if seeds are salted)
In a blender or food processor, mix garlic, sunflower seeds, and parmesan cheese. Add basil leaves and chop them up. Slowly add olive oil until well combined. Add salt and blend. If you want to freeze, add a little oil on surface of pesto...helps to keep it fresher longer. You can also mix your types of basil. I'm going to use regular and lemon basil together in my next batch.
I also blanched a big batch of green beans to freeze. I boiled them for 3 minutes, then rinsed them in cold water to cool them down. Then all you do is bag them up in quart ziplocs and stick them in the freezer. I ended up with almost 5 quarts. I will hopefully be putting up more of these later. I'm also waiting for my sweet corn to be ready to blanch and freeze a bunch of that as well.
I had to throw a picture in of my sunflowers I picked this morning. They are starting to bloom and look great. I am happy with this variety from Johnny's Seeds...so pretty!