Herb Harvest Time


As I walk out onto my deck, I see that it is harvest time for Basil. To me, that means pesto.

I’m sure most of you have made traditional Basil, Pine nut, Garlic, Parmesan Pesto. This recipe has been used for centuries throughout Europe. And for all I know, all over the world.

But, what if…you don’t like basil. Hard to believe, I know.  (I even know people who don’t like Garlic!  Who’d a thought that.)  You don’t have to forgo the easy use of an herb paste to give food tons of flavor instantly. Here are some other options for preserving your summer’s herbal bounty.

Cilantro Pesto
Makes 2/3 c.
1 ½ c. fresh Cilantro leaves or 1 c. Cilantro leaves and ½ c. Parsley leaves
1 large Garlic clove
¼ c. grated Parmesan Cheese
3 tbsp. Pine Nuts
1 tsp. grated Lime peel
5 tbsp. Olive Oil
Combine everything except Oil in a food processor or blender.
After everything is finely chopped, slowly add the Olive Oil, with the machine still running.
Keep processing until you get your desired consistency.
Let sit for at least 5 minutes before using.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t like Cilantro. So, how about:

Mediterranean Pesto
Makes about ¾ c.
2 large Garlic cloves
4 Tbsp fresh Rosemary leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh Thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh Basil leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh Oregano leaves
½ c. fresh Parsley leaves ( I use Italian Parsley, but use what you have, or like
1/3 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
½ c. Walnuts
6 tbsp and 1 tsp. Olive Oil

Prepare same as Cilantro Pesto. If you cook a lot of fish, I would recommend you make Tarragon Pesto.
Make this the same as Cilantro Pesto, substituting Tarragon for the Cilantro, of course, but leave out the Lime zest.
I usually stop before adding the Olive Oil to mine, and leave it a little chunky. I freeze mine into containers, then add the Olive Oil and process it a bit before using. You can also make Pesto cubes in your ice tray and pack into a container and freeze. I use mine up until I make the next year’s batch and it stays good.

Happy harvesting and here’s to some summer flavors in dreary January.

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  1. I’m about to go harvest some basil for a pesto dinner myself, so these recipes are perfect! Thank you!

  2. Making pesto and freezing it is such a great idea!! As is leaving it chunky, freezing, and adding olive oil and processing a bit when you use it!! Brilliant!! Especially if you have a LARGE harvest of basil, cilantro, or any herb…. we planted our first big garden this year and so we are looking forward to having a big harvest! Perhaps I’ll just have to make some pesto ice cubies to use during the cold Maine winter! :) Thanks for the recipes and the tips!