Monday, August 1, 2011

The Basil Harvest and Pesto (and Giveaway Winner!)

Sunday was Basil Harvest Day.  That morning, Nathan and I headed out to the garden and I cut as much basil as was prudent from my three sweet basil plants.  That means I cut as much basil as I possibly could without killing the plants. 

After my early years of gardening and carefully picking just the leaves and leaving behind the stems to “keep growing”—they don’t—I finally realized that severely cutting down entire branches makes the plant grow bushier and more vigorously, ultimately leading to bigger, better harvests.

And because of that, I picked way more basil than I needed for two batches of pesto.  This is just a portion of the harvest.

I made the first batch of pesto while Nathan ate his lunch, and the second while he napped.  I used the recipe in Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs—it's so easy!  In addition to fresh basil, it takes fresh lemon juice (not the bottled stuff), fresh garlic (not the jarred stuff), freshly grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts or walnuts, salt and pepper.

The idea here is fresh, fresh, fresh, and it sure tastes it.  I know that when I'm making pesto it's the height of the summer and my garden is in full swing...and ripenening tomatoes are right around the corner.

I froze the pesto in my Beaba Multiportions babyfood portioner in two-ounce servings, since no one in this house eats purees anymore, even for strangely textured vegetables.  Really.  And then when that was full, I broke out a one-ounce babyfood portioner.  I’m really glad I did this, because I’m the only one who eats pesto around here, and freezing it in big portions is such a waste unless we're having friends or family over.

I hung the leftover basil from the rafter that divides my family room and kitchen to dry.

I did make a fatal error, though, in all this—I forgot to leave some unfrozen for fresh eating!  That afternoon I was jonzing for something to spread on a French baguette and I nearly smacked myself in the forehead like in a 90s sitcom.  PESTO!

I managed to get a small cube of half-frozen pesto out of the freezer and nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds to spread on my fresh bread.  And, MAN, was it good.  Summer couldn’t taste any greener.  Or fresher.  Highly recommended!

Oh, and I almost forgot to announce the winner of my awesome handmade notecards. generated a lucky number 6 for W-S Wanderings.  Congrats, and I'll be in touch soon!!!  Thanks to all who entered.


  1. What a good idea to freeze your Pesto (and in the small portions)!

    CONGRATULATIONS to W-S Wanderings!

  2. Yipppeeeeee! I'm doing my I'm-such-a-lucky-winner-of-a-fabulous-giveaway dance right now! YAY!

    Thank you :-) I'll be in touch soon.

    But now I'm craving pesto...

  3. I never thought of freezing pesto. Great idea! Nothing better than homemade pesto! YUM!

  4. MMM...I love pesto, and, actually, my super picky husband likes it too,and yet, I've never made it. I will check out that recipe for sure. Thanks! Stopping by from happiness is bloghop...

  5. I love pesto! It's such a great summer food! I've never tried drying my own basil - I should do that sometime!

    Frugally Green Mom

  6. That fresh pesto sounds so good! Thanks for the tip about cutting back the basil instead of just picking off leaves. This is my first year herb gardening so I will have to remember that. Have a blessed day :)

    PS- I host a recipe swap every week and I'd love for you to come by and show off a recipe or two.

  7. Your pesto and Basil look wonderful. I love fresh basil but have had a difficult time growing it, I will have to give your method a try. Fresh pesto sounds yummy!

  8. Hi, Kelly! You've got so much creativity and I'm admiring them all. Can you please share your creative posts at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there at the party :).

  9. Delicious! You literally made my mouth water. I am going to enlist my chef husband into making some of this very soon!

    Thanks for linking this up at Rub Some Dirt On It!

  10. So jealous of all that fabulous fresh basil! Your pesto looks wonderful and I love the way you freeze it in the individual portions!

    Thank you so much for linking up to "A Little Birdie Told Me..."!


  11. Looks Delish!

    We'd love you to share your recipes with us at

    Simply Delish Saturday


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