Herb Pesto Starter
This does not look like much in the jar, but I can assure you it is divine. I made my first small batch with basil, garlic, and brine. I fermented it for 7 days.
Next time I am going to do a quart size batch. Here is the magical part. If you make fresh pesto you know what I am about to say. Pesto oxidizes in the fridge. after about a week you are discarding enough off the top that you feel guilty.
Pesto made with this starter does not! After the ferment you pack it in a jar and store it in the fridge. When you run out of pesto, you use your starter, parmesan, olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste. I usually prepare pesto in 4 oz batches. I spread it on bagels, english muffins or toast in the morning and sometimes make a creamy pesto sauce for pasta.
A four oz batch will last about two weeks in our house and I have never seen it discolor, much less oxidize. the color of the prepared condiment is vibrant — the aroma and flavor is too.
Because pine nuts are expensive and hard to find, I use scoured almonds. Another alternative is walnuts but I suspect the skins are too bitter.
May favorite discovery about Pesto is that the familiar basil pesto is only one of many options. I noticed that many pesto recipes add parsley. You can make pesto with whatever herbs are overtaking your garden.
The fermented starter will last for a year or more in the fridge. Just cut a disk of parchment paper to cover in order to reduce the risk of mold.