FOOD IS MEDICINE
With such a long awaited spring always comes the joy of foraging for those hardy green plants that can actually grow when it's still quite cold out. Here in New York we enjoyed 4 inches of snow fall on the Spring Equinox to cover the bit of grass here and there that was just beginning to peak through the snow banks in thaw. Still, as I wander out and move the snow around, I can find tiny green shoots already drawing minerals and vitamins from deep in the soil to aid those of us who enjoy eating them. Starved for fresh greens just picked is a common issue in cold climates and our bodies quickly recognize a pesto like this as vital nutrition after a long stretch without produce picked directly from the Earth and so utilizes it perfectly and quickly. We feel revitalized almost in the moment! So enjoy this version of a wild weed pesto I have made for years.... you can always add a handful of cilantro, parsley or basil if the wild ones are just too small to find enough in order to stretch them and get started. Then plan to make more each week in the weeks to come as the soil warms and the plants get excited like us and start to prolifically sprout. This recipe freezes well in small one meal sized containers. I loaded pics of the wild ones I mentioned if you are still learning what they look like. Keep going out there to find them. Bring along a field guide you can tuck it in your basket as a reference when you head out. There will quietly come a day when you notice you no longer need it for you are learning and growing too!! Enjoy!
2 cups of nuts of choice, Pecans, Walnuts, Pine nuts; toasted gently in coconut oil
1 cup of grated cheese (Pecorino, aged Gouda or other favorite hard grating cheese)
1 tsp. tamari
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil (optional)
1 cup of fresh chives, , chopped
2 cloves of fresh garlic
4 to 6 cups of fresh spring dandelion greens, chickweed, lambs quarters, nettles, plantain leaf; washed and air dried on a towel
1/2 lemon, juiced - the acid gives a nice tang and keeps the green color for you - can add zest too!
1/2 to 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Place the toasted nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, pecans) and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You can use a blender but you will need to scrape the sides down more frequently. Process for 15 seconds. Add your green leaves of choice, salt, and pepper, lemon juice and tamari. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.
To clean your greens remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner or air dry on a towels fluffing them every so often. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days to a week.
Wild Weed Pics
Jennifer Costa, Herbalist, Teacher, BS, RN, CST, and Founder of ElderMoon School of Herbs & Earth Medicine