For the longest time, I thought pesto had to be made with Basil, and then I began experimenting in the kitchen, as so many of us have been during in these times. I am a big advocate for eating our medicine, and having it in a delicious spreadable form is quite satisfying. With these wild greens and so many more I haven’t mentioned, added into your daily diet, your immunities and natural defenses are given a healthy boost. Especially during this seasonal shift into Spring, and then into Summer, eating your greens, assists in allergy support.
To all of you out there who have gone into their garden to gather food for a meal or in this case, a wild harvested pesto, you know the gratification that comes with this simple act. As a child, we always made do with what we had, and in my adult years it transpired into foraging in my garden and on the land, and really learning to appreciate what is around us, because ultimately the earth provides.
To my delight, when I walked my property, on the hunt for edible greens, I saw so many possibilities for creating a pesto. I do not recommend choosing greens you are not personally familiar with, or that you cannot identify. A lot of these edible greens, so often dismissed as mere weeds, are chock full of nutrients. I like bitter greens such as, wild arugula and dandelion greens, which are an excellent tonic for the sensitive belly. If you are prone to indigestion or bloating, I highly recommend incorporating bitter greens into your blend. I love using Chickweed for its high vitamin C and uplifting energy, as well as Cleavers which is alkalizing and stimulating to the lymph (to name a few). Mustard Greens took off in my garden this year, and I love it’s spicy component, not to mention it’s high dose of Vitamin K, so that went into the mix. Lemon Thyme and Cilantro are some culinary spices in my garden, and they added a nice layer of flavor. If I had fresh nettles, I would definitely have added that as well, after blanching it a bit to get the stinging out. I’m the kind of person that adds turmeric root to whatever I can get away with, because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, however it is not necessary and does have a distinct taste if you are not used to it. I made my pesto vegan and nut free, however if you prefer, by all means add cheese and get nuts! Alternate greens as to what’s available to you and have fun with it!
I used a standard size glass blender, and soaked my greens in cold water for 5 minutes (to get all the critters off), and rinsed well. Here is a rough guide to creating your very own wild pesto (makes about a pint size jar).
¾ cup fresh greens
¼ cup olive oil
½ lemon or lime squeezed (no seeds)
Peeled raw garlic (2-3 cloves)
1 small fresh turmeric root
Pinch of black pepper
Salt to your liking
Cayenne to your liking
Combine all ingredients into the blender, make sure you squeeze excess moisture from the greens, and blend for a minute. Add more oil if it is too thick, otherwise whip it up for another 30 seconds and presto, pesto!