The Rocket Glut

monk in garden animWhat do you do when your garden is heaving with rocket, just about to flower and bolt into seed? The answer is Rocket Pesto, a way of conserving this lovely taste of summer for six months or so.

You have given everyone you know bunches of Rocket. You have harvested and eaten it at nearly every meal. You love its slightly bitter, peppery and stimulating taste but it only seems to last for the first bit of the summer. Here is a great way of preserving it to last the whole summer long.

Rocket leaves

Rocket leaves

Rocket ( Eruca Sativa) is a member of the Brassicacae family, so called because of its tendency to bolt before your very eyes. This family of vegetables are well known for their anti-cancer properties when cooked well ie steamed or eaten raw. Erucin is a cancer chemopreventive agent made from Rocket salad!

You will need: Rocket, crushed garlic cloves, powdered Italian type cheese, lemon (and lime) rind, walnuts, pine nuts, olive oil. (Sorry I don,t really do measured amounts,  just look at the pictures to get some idea !)

washed rocket

washed rocket

Firstly harvest the rocket and give it a wash. Then go through and take out the heavy stems and anything else you might have picked by mistake. You should end up with a nice pile of fresh rocket. Chop it up so that you can feed it into a liquidiser.

Then put all the other ingredients in a pile, except for the oil. Now the tricky bit is to feed the ingredients into the liquidiser while keeping the mix lubricated with the oil so it liquidises. When it ‘sticks’, don’t burn out the motor or shake the liquidiser!

Rocket pesto ingredients

Rocket pesto ingredients

Rocket pesto

Rocket pesto

Rocket pesto and cheese with pasta

Rocket pesto and cheese with pasta

Simply take off the lid (waiting until the rotor has stopped), push aside the leafy stuff and pour in a bit more oil until the liquidiser works again.

Bottle the green mixture up in sterile glass jars and pour a bit more olive oil in the top to seal the air out. Rocket, also known as Arugula is full of excellent anti-oxidants so use some good quality virgin olive oil to preserve it. You can keep this jar sealed in a fridge for up to six months.

Rocket pesto can keep for up to six months in a fridge

Rocket pesto can keep for up to six months in a fridge

Green salad leaves contain the light converting machinery of nature. Rocket is high in phytonutrients, vitamins A (9%) and C (5%), beta carotene, fibre, folate (2%) and calcium (3%). Research in Saudi Arabia gives Rocket properties as an anti gastric ulcer agent.

Although the recipes are slightly different, you can also make pesto from nettles or wild garlic in addition to the more traditional basil.

All you need now is a plate of freshly made pasta, drop in a touch of butter (oil or margerine) and a few teaspoons of your home-made Rocket Pesto and stir onto a warmed plate. Sprinkle to taste with a grated cheese of your choice, a bit of chopped parsley and be generous with the black pepper. Hey Pesto!

WildFood Wizard by Simon Mitchell

WildFood Wizard by Simon Mitchell

Read ‘WildFood Wizard for more wonderful recipes and medicines from the wild or from your garden. Nature’s gifts are truly versatile. Aches and pains, bites, burns and scratches, stomach upsets, tiredness, bloat, insomnia, colds and flu – you name it there is already something in your kitchen that will help.

One way to a greener lifestyle starts at home in the kitchen! Here’s holistic thinker and wild food enthusiast Simon Mitchell with a radical new book that celebrates the awesome power of natural foods for managing your health.

Reach for a holistic lifestyle from the heart of your home, the kitchen. Discover for yourself the power of Mother Nature’s Gifts, a real integrated medicine working for you from your very own kitchen. Hiding in your meals, is a whole food medicine for health, for healing and for fun!

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