Saturday, April 4, 2015

First Harvest of the Season

 The rain stopped for a few moments & the sun felt quite warm today. I've been watching my perennial herbs put on amazing amounts of new growth & felt today would be a good day to put some of it away for the coming months later in the year.

I harvested the tall stalks of lovage & pruned one of my rosemary plants, bringing in that fresh aroma into the kitchen.
~ lovage ~
The lovage leaves I roughly chopped & put into a large glass jar. Then I added 4 litres of apple cider vinegar, wrapped the top in plastic & set it in the pantry. In a few weeks, I'll strain out the lovage & have some flavoured cider vinegar - one of my staples in the kitchen. Great for salad dressings, as an added splash to meats or part of a brine/marinade for chicken. Lovage on its own is a great flavour enhancer & I'll make use of it all summer long, so this vinegar is reserved for the winter months...
~ rosemary ~
The rosemary I put into some smaller glass jars with olive oil. Again, a rough chop to release the essential oils & a good stir to remove any air bubbles (also make sure it does not have water or dew on the leaves as oil & water do not mix!!). This will also stay in the pantry for a couple of weeks & will be strained out into bottles for use in cooking & making salad dressings.

Having different flavoured vinegars & oils in the kitchen means your meals will never become boring or bland - one new flavour will lead to more...!!!

~ sorrel ~
I also went out & harvested the majority of my sorrel. As you can see, the leaves are large & starting to become a bit tough. What better way to use up some fresh greens than to make sorrel pesto!!

My base recipe is the same as most other pesto recipes: olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper & green herbs. This year I decided to use fresh chives in the blend instead of garlic - 1) I'm out of garlic & 2) I've been having a rather strong 'reaction' to garlic & have removed it from most of my cooking for a while. This recipe allows the pesto to be transformed into many different ways when you are looking for a hit of green, tart & tangy goodness to your dishes.

You can add mayo or sour cream or cream cheese or a bit of hot sauce or toss it with some salsa or spread on fresh salmon or add chopped rhubarb for a pork dish.... honestly - one of my essentials in my fridge is a jar of sorrel pesto.
~ finished pesto ~

I pour the pesto into small jars & pop them down into the bottle of the freezer for use later on in the year. Sorrel grows so well out here that I might be able to do another one or two harvests for pesto! For the spring, when the plants send up more tender shoots, I'll use those fresh in salads & enjoy the lemony-tart-tang....

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