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Lemon Mint Pesto

This year, I accidentally planted lemon mint on my balcony instead of a variety I might be more familiar with and like more, like, say, peppermint or spearmint. Ironically, the lemon mint is one of the few of my plants to have flourished this year. I planted more things too early, then we had late snow and frost which wiped a lot of my plants out. I replanted and hoped for the best. Then the spring was very rainy and drowned a number of them. Then we had hail. Twice. A lot of plants were flattened. In and amongst weather catastrophes, was Little Bit, who delights in tearing up my plants by the roots, or picking the leaves off of them to make mud soup in his paddling pool.

Through all this, the mint survived. I was delighted until I made tea with it and discovered that the flavour was not quite what I was expecting. I wondered if there had been black tea left in the bottom of the pot? No. I tried again. It still tasted odd: at once muddier than regular mint and more acidic, but without mint's typical freshness. I left the plant alone for a bit and wondered what to do with it. And then I hit on the idea of a pesto. It took a little tweaking, but it worked out well in the end. I had to add a little water to get the blender to work properly, and then it was too wet as well as needing a grounding note, so I added some stale bread to the blender. If your consistency is ok without it though, skip the bread. I also gradually increased the amount of garlic. As the pesto is raw, I was worried that too much garlic would be overpowering, but the pesto really did need it. Here it is.


3-4 c fresh lemon mint leaves

3-4 tbsp olive oil

1/4 c pine nuts

1/2 head garlic

1/4 c water

1/4 c bread crumbs

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 c grated parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

1) Blend all ingredients until smooth. Taste test.

I am happy with how this came out. It doesn't taste overpoweringly minty (but then, neither does the parent plant) but has a nice balance to it. We had this first with sandwiches. The minty pesto worked very well on wholegrain seedy bread with cheese and sausage for lunch. We have also tried it with spinach and ricotta tortellini, and it was delicious. Little Bit refused to try it, but then he doesn't like any sauce on his tortellini.

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