Homegrown Herbs: Basil Pesto

homegrown-herbs-basil-pestoMy herb garden has been doing exceptionally well this season. They are all growing so fast that it seems I can barely keep up with them. I have already cut them back multiple times this year and they just continue to grow! Which is a good thing, I’m not complaining! It seems like as soon as I get one batch dried and prepared for use, I’m out there cutting them back again. So far, I have 3 quarts of dried spearmint, 2 quarts of dried lemon balm and 1/2 quart of dried tarragon. And that is in addition to topping off my “working” supply of herbs in the kitchen. It definitely is exciting to be stocking up my pantry with lots of  dried herbs to use over the winter!

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With the abundance of fresh herbs that I have on my hands, I am always looking for recipes to get them used up. One of the herbs that I currently have an over-abundance of is basil. One of my favorite ways to use my fresh basil is making pesto! We like to mix it together with pasta and turkey sausage (chopped in slices). It is absolutely delicious! This year we discovered that we can make large batches of this in the summer (when we have more basil than we know what to do with) and freeze it to use later on. I’m very excited that we are stocking up our freezer with fresh herbs to enjoy all year long!

The recipe is really simple and it only takes a few minutes to throw together. The most time-consuming part is going to be washing and removing the leaves from the stem. So, give it a try. You are sure to love it!

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Basil Pesto

2 cups packed basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 minced garlic cloves or 2 tsp minced garlic

Place all ingredients in your food processor or blender.
Blend until basil is finely chopped and ingredients are combined.
Serve over your choice of pasta and enjoy!

Or…If you are making it to freeze, simply transfer the pesto to a quart freezer bag.
Seal the bag most of the way and gently tap on the counter to remove air bubbles.
Lay it down and then slowly flatten it out.
Once it is flat, squeeze out any remaining air and finish sealing.
Always make sure you label and date your freezer bags as well.

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If you have an herb garden, make sure you are preserving your harvest for the winter months and not letting it go to waste. Most of my herb plants can be harvested 3-4 times throughout the summer months. And I’m not talking a little harvest. I’m talking about a lot-Like my dining room table full of baking sheets of herbs drying.

If you have more herbs than you know what to do with, check out my post on how to dry & preserve your own herbs!

How do you like to use your fresh herbs? Share your ideas in the comments below! I always love to hear from my readers!!

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