CSAs and Pesto


Summer’s my least favorite season, but there is one thing about June that makes it all worthwhile: the start of CSA season. I’ve loved the CSA concept from the moment I heard about it and have enjoyed the fresh, organically grown local vegetables year after year.

One of the plentiful herbs we get during the summer is basil, but during the first few weeks of the CSA, basil’s not as copious, but scapes are. Scapes, or garlic curls, are “are the tender flower stalks that grow out of the middle of hardneck garlic, before the garlic below is full grown.” They have a nice, intense flavor, but can be a little tricky trying to figure out where to use them. Our favorite use is in a modified pesto that uses garlic curls instead of pesto. I’ve posted the recipe because it’s just that good… it’s a biting pesto that has a sharper flavor than you’d expect but is absolutely perfect spread on a piece of toasted crusty bread with a slice of fresh tomato on top. There really are few things finer in life.

This week, the basil started coming in, which means several months of more traditional pesto. Pesto on bread, pesto on pasta, pesto on veggies… maybe summer’s not such a bad time after all…

7 Responses to “CSAs and Pesto”

  1. The Vegan Club

    You surely must be growing tons of basil to be able to do a traditional pesto for months!
    Does not go into blooming???
    Mine does after a while and when it does the leaves are just not good anymore.
    I cannot say a grow a lot, but I grow some and I can just do about 2/3 jam jars of vegan and about twice that amount of non vegan (for the other people of the house). But that’s it really!

  2. shananigans

    I love summer! The beach, summer weddings, the beach, summer produce, did I mention the beach? I have a basil plant thatís doing quite well on my balcony but I donít think it would yield enough to make much pesto. Iím finding it difficult to find cilantro seedlings, but thatís another herb that I would love to have a fresh supply of.

  3. Ann O'nymous

    The Vegan Club:
    Don’t let your basil go in to bloom. Clip off the flowers or flowers buds before it blooms. That will keep the leaves growing more and bushier.

  4. The Vegan Club

    Ann, I usually do that for some time. but after a while the leaves turn hiaty anyway and the flowers just start coming out fro anywhere and I cannot keep up with taking them off. and the basil has gone!

    Well, at least it is fullfilling its natural cycle and I am happy at that.

  5. laraina

    happy 4th! i belong to a csa in NJ & was introduced to garlicscapes 1st time ever…for 2 weeks i made pesto(&then they were gone…) this is an ingredient i will long for until next may.
    last week’s share included parsley & cilantro. substituted those. am always trying to recreate the perfect pesto now.
    its fun to use whatever is fresh & seasonal & i always add my own basil leaves, usually use walnuts instead of pinenuts & throw in at least a TBS of flaxseed meal. my next adventure in pesto is w/steamed broccoli>>>googling pesto really boogles the mind. i think i’m beyond obbessed & oh
    my goodness i actually double the garlic(because of the scapes encounter)+ probably reek of garlic.
    when making a pasta dish -i toss the pasta w/the pesto & then add my little sautepan’s worth of veggie add-in’s(this week>baby bella’s swisschard
    summersquash. please include a glass of organic red wine-bon apetit

  6. Summer

    I just got my first CSA delivery yesterday and it conatined a whole bunch of cilantro. I’ll be making cilantro pesto tonight! :)

  7. Rachel

    My husband and I joined a CSA this year and I love it! I just made fettucini with cannellini beans and pesto (using basil from our CSA) for lunch – delicious.

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