The food out here

Presto pesto

Posted 7/21/21

My wife and I have been moving out of our house for what seems like the last half-century. However, as a result, our diet has diminished in creativity and quality as we have begun to frequent the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
The food out here

Presto pesto


My wife and I have been moving out of our house for what seems like the last half-century. However, as a result, our diet has diminished in creativity and quality as we have begun to frequent the fast-food stops along our moving route. Craving something fresh as a result of the monotony of burgers and fries, we looked to our fridge, which also showed signs of scarcity since we’ve been limiting our groceries so we don’t have to pack and move those as well. In the back of the fridge, there was a small paper bag full of a few dozen garlic scapes we recently harvested. As it was one of the only green things in the fridge, we decided to use that as our launching point for a fresh snack. My wife is a pesto professional, to the point I’ve been begging her over the past few years to start a side business making and bottling it. In any case, she informed me that she could make a pesto using garlic scapes. If you’re not sure what they are, I’d encourage you to read my recent outdoor column, “Ex-scaping the 9 to 5.” 

For those of you concerned about getting the somewhat rare delicacy, fear not, you can easily replace it with minced garlic. One of our favorite uses for pesto is the classic pesto, tomato and mozzarella sandwich. Ciabatta buns, particularly herbed and seasoned ones, are our favorite. If you just want a quick snack, however, it is equally as appetizing on a piece of toast or even with a salty cracker. The thing I really appreciate about pesto is that you can freeze it and thaw it out when you want it, making it a perfect snack for any homesteaders or preppers out there who make a point to store up food for the year. My wife normally makes a very straightforward basil pesto using walnuts and basil as the primary ingredients. However, for this recipe, we looked to the internet, which called for the use of sunflower seeds. If you have a particular inclination to walnuts over sunflowers seeds or vice versa, then be my guest and swap them out. But in my opinion, the sunflower seeds seemed to hold up to the walnuts and were a justified substitution. The way out here, we just use whatever we have on hand anyway. 

Fortunately, pesto is a very quick-to-make recipe that doesn’t rely on anything being cooked. My wife whipped out the handy dandy food processor and began to feed each ingredient into the hopper from above: garlic scapes, sunflower seeds, olive oil, parmesan cheese, basil, etc. Again, if you don’t have garlic scapes available, which is most of us for most of the year, you can use minced garlic in its place. Or, as I mentioned before, pesto is pretty good with just the basil and walnuts as the primary ingredients. Take your pick. After no more than a few minutes pulsing each ingredient together, the consistency was perfect, and we removed the creamy, smooth mix to sample before bed. We may wake up with garlic breath, but it beats what fast food does to our stomachs. The way out here, not every tasty treat is a complicated concoction built on hours of preparation. Sometimes, the simple green samplings are all we really need or want.


  • 1 cup garlic scapes sliced crossways
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • juice of one lemon

Pulse garlic scapes in food processor for 30 seconds. Add sunflower seeds and scrape down sides after pulsing for 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and process for 15 seconds. Add the parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Add basil and lemon juice and pulse until desired consistency (like green waffle batter). Add salt to taste and serve.

Recipe courtesy of The New York Times

pesto, garlic scrapes, food, Hunter Hill


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here