Jul 2, 2012 at 11:29 am #1291583
I love using pesto out camping and want to take some home-made pesto. What type of container would be good for something like this? I don't need much…just enough for maybe two meals ( 6oz of pasta each meal)Jul 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm #1891630
@smitLocale: sierra nevada
I have been experimenting with cleaned out mylar potato chip bags, and also kettle chip bags based on a thread I read somewhere on this site. They can be resealed with an iron and are quite strong in my experience as long as the "seal" is about 3/4-1 in wide. You can cut the material from the bag to a smaller size and seal all but one side, fill and iron to seal. A little time experimenting with iron temp and how much you can fit in and still seal and you will be on your way.
Recently I got some of the instant coffee that Trader Joe's is selling in the packs similar to Via (except the packs are 3x the size). The cleaned and reused packages worked great for salad dressing (the coffee is not so good…). After re-sealing them I tried to squeeze them as hard as I could with one hand and could not get them to pop. The only trick is keeping the area inside the packet which will form the seal free of oil, etc.
Also very strong and easy are straws. You hold the straw with needle nose pliers about 1/8-1/4" from the end and then use a lighter to melt the end of the straw. Allow the end to fully cool then release the pliers, fill with spices, oil, DEET etc. in single use increments, and repeat sealing procedure for the open end. A regular size straw would not hold enough pesto but someone suggested trying a straw made for tapioca balls or BoBo's. They can be found at asian food markets and are approximately 3/8 – 1/2" I.D. I have not experimented with this size but have found the regular size straws to be very strong when sealed correctly.
-SteveJul 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm #1891639
@annapurnaJul 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm #1891642
If you want to carry it made from home just double bag it and carry it in your cooking pot.
http://www.trailcooking.com/recipes/dehydrated-pesto Is an easy one!Jul 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm #1891647
I just did that last week with my 12-year-old son on a 3-day, 29-mile trip. He loves potato gnocci with pesto and we have some pretty serious basil in 6 windows boxes on the inside windowsills. It's really more of a 9-foot basil hedge in mid-summer.
A number of options:
Vac-pack it if you have the equipment (as Alaskans harvesting berries, sockeye, halibut, we obviously do). Then freeze. If making mega-batches, use ice-cube trays to make dozens of pesto cubes at a time, freeze them, pop them out, place in ziplocks, and store in the freezer for a year or more.
Use a recycled "disposible" water bottle. 12-ounce and 16-ounce sizes are readily avaiable. The cheapest ones (that come in a 24-bottle case) are a little thin for something as oily as pesto, I'd go for name-brand Aquafina or Dasini bottles which are a little tougher. I've also gotten little 8-ounce water bottles in First Class on the plane numerous times and save those to solve too-big/too-small dilemnas. Once you've used the pesto from the bottle, crush it and replace the lid to keep its volume down.
Freezer-weight zip-lock bags are fine IF you protect them inside of something else – a bowl or pot, for instance. Dump most of it in the pasta pot, invert the bag and use it like a glove to (1) stir the pesto into the pasta by hand and (2) wipe as much pesto from the bag as possible.
*IF* you haven't used DEET on it, a mosquito headnet makes a very lightweight pasts strainer. Just use campsuds later to wash the starch off it. If you don't have a strainer, improvise OVER A BOWL so you can recover any escaped pasta.
For store-bought pesto, I just bring it in the little 6-ounce plastic tub it comes in. Depending on your camp gear, one person could use that tub as their eating bowl, although our practice is to eat it communually out of the cooking pot.
Store bought or home-made, I freeze it before the trip and pack it and other temperature-sensitive food inside a sweater or sleeping bag. Sometimes I freeze that stuff sack a few days in advance. If you do that, will still be cold 18-36 hours later. Even if you don't, you reduce its time at elevated temps by many hours and it is fresher when you use it.
When freezing pesto, its volume changes very little (unlike water which expands). The water component gets bigger on freezing, but the oil gets smaller. On balance, it expands/contracts very, very little.
Pesto and gnocci aren't UL, but if you do that your first night or two, you don't carry it far and your pound-miles are reduced.Jul 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm #1891691
These are some great ideas. I had forgotten about Mike's! link and his recipes, which I may revisit…especially the peanut butter goop.
I will be gone for 6 days, and wonder if the oil would seep into the ziplock channels.
By day 3 I want some pasta with pesto!!Jul 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm #1891716
I wouldn't carry fresh that long. YMMV of course…..Jul 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm #1891719
Like Sarah, I wouldn't carry homemade pesto for 6 days. Partly, it's a freshness issue, but also, there's more time and chances to spring a leak and I really don't want to smell like an Italian kitchen as I hike and camp.
For using it on the third day, a lot, too,freezing it gains you time, as does keeping it cool when you can. Use more salt than you usually would and experiment with lemon juice in it. Citric acid is called an "anti-oxidant" for good reason and it preserves color and taste. Use a method that eliminates all oxygen from the packaging (use a container you can completely fill) and that helps over a few days time.Jul 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm #1891744
How long would the pesto remain safe that are sold in the squeeze tubes? I hate using those because the oil seperates and the opening clogs.
Chances are I could make one meal from it on day 1 or 2 knowing home made would go rancid so quickly. That would be doable and might be the better option. I don't think if it was vacuum packed that it would prolong the shelf life.Jul 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm #1891801
One thing to keep in mind – when you make it the freshness of the basil (or other greens – I use spinach in my pesto!) is very important as is making sure it is dry when you grind it. While the salt and oil does retard growth the cheese does play in on spoilage. The tubes on the other hand are commercially processed. Even then…..I'd use it up sooner than later.Jul 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm #1891804
You can test it, beforehand. Leave a bit on the counter stored as you intend for your trip. Actually, make up 3 little batches. Try them on day 2, 4, and 6. Sniff first. Then taste on a cracker. Over this time frame and with no animal products, it's not a health and safety issue, but more one of taste.
Vac-packing stops contact with oxygen in the air so there is less oxidation, color change, and flavor change. In the long term, it also helps with freezer burn, too. But for short term, or if you don't have the vac-packer, use a heavy ziplock and "burp" it so you have all the air squeezed out as you pinch the seal closed. I just served some pesto that my wife thoughtfully covered carefully with saran wrap so that there was no air under it (mashed the saran wrap down into the pesto). 56 hours later, it was bright and green and flavorful, unlike pesto exposed to the air.Jul 3, 2012 at 7:38 am #1891874
So here is what I will try at home….because I don't do well with most dry packaged things like pesto, gravies,and the like (chemical laiden), I am going to dehydrate some fresh basil and spinach together, chop it up and then make it that way in the field with oil packets and nuts. I will let you know how that goes.Jul 3, 2012 at 8:14 am #1891884
Basil, sunflower oil, olive oil, salt , pine nuts, garlic, citric acid.Jul 3, 2012 at 8:19 am #1891886
The tubes are very concentrated…I know I am sounding snobbish…but they tend to have a harsh flavor.
And I know I am odd but I prefer raw walnuts over pine nuts – smoother flavor!Jul 3, 2012 at 8:34 am #1891890
check this out. I know…I am now obsessing!!Jul 3, 2012 at 9:30 am #1891910
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
If I'm just going for a few days, I take fresh pesto in a small Nalgene bottle. These are leak proof so I don't have to worry about olive oil dripping through my pack. It sure livens up the pasta.Jul 3, 2012 at 11:11 am #1891936
Let me take this thread in another direction – doing it with wild foods. In all my time outdoors, only on one nortern NM trip did gathering pine nuts really pay off. But many times, I've gathered fern fiddleheads in late spring, sauted them, and used that as pesto with nuts, oil and garlic. You want the fiddleheads that are still tightly curled and I only take a 1/4 or a 1/5 of the ones from each fern so as not to kill/damamge it too much.
Two river-run rocks make a mortar and pestle if one has a little concavity in it. I should have tried using the bear's fat on the last trip, but I had olive oil along.Jul 3, 2012 at 11:28 am #1891940
My favorite pesto is made with stinging nettles and no one really cares how many of those you pick!
Blanch them in boiling water to get rid of any sting. You can even drink the blanch water as a very beneficial tea.Jul 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm #1891953
James: Yes, no one will miss the nettles! Good idea.
As a late teen, I and another outdoor geek / boy scout once spent 45 minutes along a river and IDed 65 edible plants. I should get back into it now that I've got kids.
We were hiking a trail near our home in Alaska and the kids were grazing on low-bush cranberries and crowberries somewhat out of our earshot. Some adult came by and told them not to eat them because they were poisonous.
Like the bumper sticker says, "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?"
The kids checked with two very experienced BPers, a doctor, and an engineer (that would be that their parents) and then went back to grazing.Jul 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm #1891975
Hah! I like it as well!Jul 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm #1892009
@dpnollLocale: Maroon Bells
Mike Clelland has some great sauce recipes including one for pesto.
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=27844Jul 7, 2012 at 4:59 am #1892776
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
Arugula and Baby Spinach Pesto
from Another Fork in the Trail © 2011
Dehydration Time 5–7 hours
Makes 4–6 servings
This recipe was one of those happy accidents that happened when I was trying to use up some fresh greens prior to one of our longer trips. The peppery flavor of the arugula is great on pasta, gnocchi, tossed with tofu and vegetables, or used as a pizza sauce. I prefer walnuts in this pesto but you can substitute pine nuts.
2 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-inch x 1-inch x 3-inch block Parmesan cheese (optional)
Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until they become fragrant. Let the nuts cool and then wrap half of them in plastic wrap. Mince the garlic and set aside.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Put a pot of water on to boil and put the arugula and spinach into a fine strainer or sieve. When the water reaches the boil, dunk the sieve into the water for 10 to 15 seconds and then put the strainer full of greens into the ice water to stop any cooking. Drain well. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon of the walnuts to the food processor and pulse until the nuts resemble a fine meal. Add greens, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Blend well. Spread the mixture on lined dehydrator trays and dry for 5 to 7 hours. Allow to cool and place the mix in a ziplock bag. Put the walnut bundle in the bag with the dried greens. Wrap the Parmesean cheese, if using. Add the olive oil to the other oil you will take on your trip.
Add 1/2 part water to 1 part dried mix and allow to rehydrate, adding water a little at a time if necessary. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the bag, close the bag and knead with your hands until combined. Shave the Parmesan cheese, if using, with your knife or cut into small pieces and crumble with your fingers. Add the cheese and nuts to the bag and mix again, or, if you are having this with pasta, toss the pasta with the pesto and sprinkle the cheese and nuts on top.Jul 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm #1893119
This looks pretty tasty!Jul 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm #1894599
@dpnollLocale: Maroon Bells
If I used basil instead of arugula and spinach would I still have to put it in boiling water?Jul 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm #1894602
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
I don't blanch any of my greens when I make pesto (including spinach and arugula), I think it might come out slightly more bitter. When I use basil it comes out less bitter. I would see no reason to blanch basil.
now… if I was to use stinging nettle… that's a different story
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