If you have a garden of greens, you can make (and save) delicious alternative pestos.
The besto pesto for summer
The older I get, the more I'm into the greens. Not just politically.
I've started a new habit, eating two salads in one meal. I graze my way around the garden while I pick ingredients for the bowl which will make it onto the dinner table.
I get to munch on a fantastically superfresh range of minerals and vitamins with each tender green or purple leaf I eat.
Herb and salad plants have been the basis of all the edible gardens I've created over the last 10 years, as we've moved homes.
Oddly, we often seem to move in April. I've gained a lot of experience starting a new garden in a rapidly-cooling climate, with new soil type, weather conditions, and fencing challenges. It's also meant taking on a wide range of creatures that want to eat whatever I'm growing. In the Sounds, that can be as small as a weka or a pukeko, or as large as a determined pig, goat or deer.
I'll be out in the garden before we've established who is sleeping where in a new home. I need to start digging.
I prefer the 'easy' stuff that grows quickly. This way, a new garden is almost immediately productive, full of a wide range of green, edible leaves. My favourites include miner's lettuce, red coral and green mizuna, sorrel, tatsoi, coriander, baby kale, corn salad and rocket.
Microclima is my best friend. It is a protective plastic garden mesh (available from Polynet Products, www.polynet.co.nz).
Pesto made easy
Pesto tickles my taste buds. The variety of different greens in my garden means every batch is a little different, especially when the spicy mustard taste of a plant like red coral mizuna is thrown in.
Traditionally, 'pesto' is almost any mix of herbs pounded together and poured over pasta. We've extended its use to new potatoes, wraps, pizza, as a dip with crackers and chips, stirred into rice or quinoa, and as an ingredient in muffins and pinwheels.
Pesto is expensive to buy, but cheap to make if you have a ready supply of green, leafy ingredients. My summers need a lot of pesto. We're either entertaining or I am organising food for beach picnics.
I make big batches of pesto and freeze it in little plastic jars (like yeast containers) so it's ready for any occasion and thaws quickly.
These recipes are a great way to use up a surplus of green herbs and/ or chillies. All are dairy-free, freeze well, and go with anything savoury. It sits on hoops which cover the growing areas, giving just enough warmth to encourage seeds to grow through winter.
Kristina Jensen lives in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. She sidesteps supermarkets, gardens madly, and loves to make anything and everything herself.