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The Complete Guide To Making Organic, Fresh Garden Pesto

In order to make delicious classic pesto, you will need basil, olive oil, nuts, cheese and garlic. In order to grow, olives and nuts strictly need the right climate and a lot of time to grow. The two other ingredients are easy for gardeners. 

Basil is sensitive to the seasonal-frost and survives in a warm climate. Any temperature in the upper 30s can cause stunted development and temporary yellowing. Growers in the North should start growing basil 4-8 weeks before the frost date inside. It is important to transplant out two weeks after the last spring frost for an early harvest. With basil, it can be direct-seeded 1/4” deep and 12” apart.

Basil will need plenty of sun and warmth. Northern growers should be advised to plant alongside a wall that faces southward. You won’t need much fertilizer because excess levels of nitrogen can weaken the leaves flavor. It is best to pinch off the tips when about six inches high to encourage branching. To harvest, you have to keep pinching branch tips. Don’t let the plants flower.

Planted in the Fall, Garlic is an annual and unusual crop. While it is in the ground growing, it stays dormant in the winter, and starts up in the Spring. Garlic is harvested in the middle of the Summer. It is best to plant garlic well-drained rich soil at three inches deep and six inches apart, in the form of a grid around the first frost in the Fall. In the Winter, for protection you can use hay or straw for protection in the cold season. It needs to be weeded and watered throughout the Spring and Summer. It is best to harvest when the lower leaves are brown and dying with five or six green leaves left on the plant. 


All recipes for Pesto actually vary. Its best to experiment to see what flavor you favor most and agree with. And as ALWAYS, choose ORGANIC!

Here’s a simple recipe to start with:

1/2 cup of olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic
4 cups of basil leaves
1/3-2/3 cup of nuts (traditionally, pine nuts are used, however other nuts will do it; mild-flavored options like walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds are used mostly)

In your food processor, combine both nuts and basil. Pulse several times. Pulse again after adding additional garlic. If needed, scrape down the sides of your food processor. In between pulses, add a small amount of olive oil. When done, you can remove the freshly-made pesto from your food processor. For seasoning, you can choose to add in salt and pepper for an extra kick. If you want to serve it fresh, you can add grated parmesan or romano along with your basil. Parmesan and romano is a traditional choice; suggestions from recipes for Pesto range from 1/3 cup to 1 cup of cheese for the size of this batch. In order to preserve your pesto, do not add in any cheese.


You cannot can pesto, however it can be easily frozen. Pesto should be made without cheese. Although it’s very safe to freeze your pesto with cheese even though the freeze will ruin the texture of it. With waxed paper, line it up on a cookie sheet. In the varied amounts you eat in meal, pile it together on the waxed paper and freeze.

An ice cube tray can also suffice. Once these piles of pesto have been fully-solidified, they can then be stored in freezer bags. Make sure you label the date it was made to ensure quality. After your pesto is thawed, mix the cheese in with a fork.


There are substitutions for basil in the recipe above. The most popular are: Parsley, cilantro, spinach and arugula. 


Parsley is in fact very slow-growing. It must be planted four to six weeks before a frost and transplanted outside after the last frost of Spring. You can also direct-seed 1/4” deep outside in the late of Spring. The seeds will bloom when either chilled in your freezer or soaked for a whole day before planting. During the first year of growth, parsley will produce an abundant amount of leaves. During the second year, it will grow its leaves again with flowers blooming. You can pull the plants that have mature seeds and lay them down in the garden bed; the following year after that, you’ll have freshly grown parsley. 


A self-seeding and short-term lasting annual, Cilantro , like parsley can be planted in the middle of the Summer season. Make sure some cilantro plants are left to seed to provide for next year’s harvest. 

Arugula and Spinach

These two are known to grow at a quick and rapid pace in the cold-seasons. These vegetables are usually ready to harvest up to a month after you planted them. It is suggested that both should be planted in the early Spring or in the Fall. Both must be tended to, like you would when growing lettuce. 

Garlic Mustard

This invasive, yet edible plant can be made into Pesto. In the classic recipe, it can be substituted for all the basil and garlic you would use. On Google, there are several recipes and tips for making garlic mustard pesto.

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The Complete Guide To Making Organic, Fresh Garden Pesto Reviewed by Jamm Real on 14:30:00 Rating: 5