Every summer, I feel torn. The grasshopper part of me (do you remember your fables?) wants to gorge on all the varieties of stone fruit, gorgeous red tomatoes, tender peas and sweet corn, all the bright colorful variety of fruits and vegetables that remind me that even when it’s cold and foggy in my neighborhood of San Francisco, not far away the sun is shining on warm and summery farms and orchards.
And then there is the other part of me — the ant part– who can’t help thinking ahead to the days when it is cold all over the bay area, and our produce selections are far more limited: chard and kale, apples and pears, oranges, oranges, oranges. That’s when I want to freeze the berries, turn the stone fruits into interesting jams, make gallons of pesto for our winter pasta.
I’m trying to do both. Instead of being a miser with berries (or any of the rest of it), I’m trying to buy plenty to eat now, cook with, and stock for later. If strawberries are $4 a pint at the market but $10 for three, I’ll buy the three pints and freeze two. Basil is a couple dollars a bunch, so I buy four at a time for pesto now and more pesto in February. I’m spending more money at the market than usual, but with any luck this will translate into some winter savings and, perhaps just as important, a bright taste of summer when we’re deep in our rainy winter.
And at the risk of getting more “how-to” and advice giving than I am comfortable with, here is the new way we’re keeping pesto. Our ice cube trays (a gift to one of the boys from a friend) happen to be small stars and penguin shapes, and while they’re excellent for lemon and lime juice cubes, they’re a little small for pesto. So in the midst of my all my muffin baking earlier this spring, Tony proposed we freeze cupcake-size portions of pesto. Works for me: