My friends have been into some pretty cool stuff lately:
Joel at Well Preserved posted a great list of foraging apps for smartphones. [Update April 2017: Plenty has changed since this post was published six years ago! These days, the most well-established foraging app is Wild Edibles, which comes in both full and lite (free) versions.]
I am not going to try to explain exactly how all of these things collided in my brain so that I ran out the back door and started picking nasturtiums to make nasturtium pesto right away. But consider: (1) useful things that are simple to prepare, (2) pesto of a different stripe, (3) hunting weeds, and (4) thinking ahead to what I might keep in the new freezer that will arrive at our house next week . . .
Boom! Nasturtium pesto.
It took all of twenty minutes to make this, including picking the leaves. (That’s a fraction of the time it will take to finish this post. Having a blog is a funny thing.) I threw in some of the pickled nasturtium pods (California Capers) I made last summer. They’re a nice addition, but by no means necessary. You can just pick some tender nasturtium leaves and get busy.
4 cups packed nasturtium leaves, plus a handful of nasturtium flowers
2 tablespoons pickled nasturtium pods (optional)
4 cloves garlic
1 cup walnuts
1 large lemon, juiced
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, adjusted to taste
black pepper to taste
Put everything but the salt and pepper into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. (If you don’t have pickled pods, don’t worry about it. Instead, think about adding a dash of hot sauce for a little extra bite. I don’t think I’d add nasturtium pods that haven’t been processed and brined; they can be bitter.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
I put one jar into the fridge and froze the rest of the pesto in ice cube trays. I’ll transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer storage bag so I can use them later.