Thursday, September 27, 2012

Drying herbs and Freezing pesto

Everyday it feels more and more like fall. We are getting the occasional frost at night and mornings are crisp. This is the time of year to harvest the remainder of summer crops. Especially herbs. In some gardens they are still flourishing, but as it gets colder, the plants will die off for the season. Go pick those herbs now! Our CSA farm still has a ton of herbs. Every week we pick a good amount to bring home. It's a great time to stock up on fresh herbs for drying. Stick them in the dehydrator at 105 degrees for a day. You can store them whole to crush later....I hear that makes for the best flavor. Personally, I like to make less work for myself later, so I crush them first and then store them. They still have a superior flavor compared to store bought dried herbs, plus they are MUCH cheaper!
I'm obsessed with pesto. My kids, not so much. So I really can't base meals on it. So I like to have smaller amounts of it at a time for my husband and myself. I use it as a dip with seed crackers and raw cheese. It's amazing how good that is! Knowing that soon enough I won't have access to fresh basil (Yes I know very well you CAN grow herbs inside in the winter....but my brown thumb prevents that...sigh...any plant that gets within 10 feet of me dies) So I had this vision of freezing a bunch of small portions of pesto. I in no way wanted to freeze it in bags by itself or other plastic containers. I suddenly realized that muffin cups were the perfect size! I scooped pesto into muffin cups, put them on a plate and stuck them in the freezer overnight. The next day I pulled them out of the freezer and tossed them into freezer bags. I thought it was genius =) Plus, think how much money you save compared to pesto at the store!

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