Making Basil Pesto

February is basil making time. In the highlands I have to wait till late spring/ early summer for the soil to warm up enough to get  seed to germinate or plants to grow well. Once in, I feed and water well for 12 to 14 weeks. Then as soon as I see them starting to put up flower heads I harvest, generally around mid to late February. If you leave a little foliage and continue to water and feed after harvest you can get a second crop if the weather stays warm. Follow the images below to see how to make this wonderful delicious herb in a versatile pesto.


Basil ready to harvest


Basil picked and ready to process


I use the recipe form the woman’s weekly “The cook’s garden” – It calls for 2 cups firmly packed basil leaves; 2 cloves of garlic; 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts; 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup olive oil.


Once picked, I pull off all the leaves and wash them. Then spin dry in a salad spinner


I get all the ingredients ready
I put the ingredients through a food processor rather than a blender. This produces a “chunkier” pesto which I prefer. I also put all the ingredients in together rather than try and process the leaves first.


From my seven basil plants I have made this many containers of pesto. I have found this usually last me until my next harvest.
I like to freeze in small container, some with enough to feed a family with Pesto spaghetti and some with just enough to add basil flavour to a dish. I also put some into jars and top with oil to keep in the fridge to put on bruschetta or to give away as gifts.