Sweet Basil & Thyme Blossom Pesto

Sum­mer is in full swing, and for me that means I’m elbow deep in the gar­den. I am in the mid­dle of year no. 4 for work­ing my very own veg­gie gar­den and this year is (by far) the best year yet!

Every year I learn moun­tains — and every year I wish I knew even more. Although the tri­als and tests have taught me much, the one thing that stands out in the biggest, bright­est neon let­ter­ing is ::: “KEEP IT SIMPLE”.

One year, I tried a few extrav­a­gant vari­eties of every veg­gie known to man. I didn’t know up from down and the pro­duce suf­fered.

Anoth­er year, I plant­ed too many of my sweet lit­tle seedlings — the gar­den was over­crowd­ed (under­state­ment) and pests had a hay day dig­ging in to all my sun-deprived spindly plants. I yep — the pro­duce suf­fered. (Side note — I grow all my plants from heir­loom seed start­ing in Feb­ru­ary, so I get very attached to them come plant­i­ng time in late April. I just want to squeeze them all into the soil and give them a chance to do what they were cre­at­ed to do!)

ANOTHER year, things were look­ing dandy until the darn squash bugs invad­ed. Once they appeared, I brave­ly fought a loos­ing bat­tle for the rest of the sum­mer. Not one squash was eat­en that year. So annoy­ing.

Here is a glimpse into the gar­den this year ::

We’ve added DIY drip irri­ga­tion on a timer, great­ly amend­ed the soil and raised the beds. In addi­tion, I tried to adhere to prop­er plant­i­ng dis­tances. Although, by the looks of this jun­gle, I still didn’t give every­thing enough space.

I have also lim­it­ed the num­ber of veg­gies I am grow­ing — this year I kept it sim­ple :: squash (lemon & Lebanese), toma­toes (too many heir­looms to name) and pep­pers (both hot & sweet).

Ps — isn’t my gar­den gate cute?! I know it makes the plants extra hap­py!

To see exact­ly what’s in the 2017 FFAY gar­den, check out my Pin­ter­est board :: 

When pon­der­ing and plan­ning, there was one item I knew I would be grow­ing in abun­dance : basil. Specif­i­cal­ly Emily’s Sweet Basil. This basil stays sweet all sea­son long and pro­duces hearti­ly even dur­ing the hottest part of the sum­mer. AND it’s named “EMILY”, it’s meant to be.

True to form, the basil is doing great and I have just fin­ished mak­ing 8 jars of pesto. Pesto is about my favorite thing to make — prob­a­bly because there are no real rules or instruc­tions nec­es­sary. Just fresh herbs, any vari­ety of toast­ed nut, some parme­san cheese, gar­lic and olive oil.

This Sweet Basil & Thyme Blos­som Pesto was inspired by the blos­som­ing thyme that lines the walk­way to my front door. So pret­ty and dain­ty, it adds such a nice her­by lay­er of fla­vor to pesto. In my opin­ion, thyme can be a lit­tle strong, but these blos­soms add a just faint whis­per of thyme.

Of course, you could total­ly use a tiny amount of thyme and pos­si­bly accom­plish the same fla­vor pro­file. But I love using a fresh gar­den ingre­di­ent typ­i­cal­ly over­looked when­ev­er pos­si­ble  (it’s almost like get­ting free ingre­di­ents — and I love free stuff, don’t you?!).

In addi­tion to the sweet basil leaves & thyme blos­soms, I also added

  • toast­ed wal­nuts
  • parme­san cheese
  • gar­lic
  • chives
  • oregano
  • mint (choco­late mint to be exact)
  • Ital­ian pars­ley
  • red pep­per flakes
  • salt 
  • black pep­per
  • sug­ar
  • olive oil
  • canola oil

I will share amounts in the recipe card below, but let me just say — con­sis­ten­cy and fla­vor are sub­jec­tive. Do you like gar­licky pesto? Maybe you pre­fer chunky pesto? Or how about spicy pesto? I have a draw­er with­in arms reach; it’s stocked with 30 tast­ing spoons for such a recipe like this. So taste as you go — make it your own!

Pulse ingre­di­ents in the food proces­sor until every­thing is incor­po­rat­ed and the tex­ture is most­ly smooth. Add addi­tion­al oil & sea­son­ings until you find that “pesto sweet spot”.

Store in 8 oz jars, cov­er­ing the pesto with olive oil before plac­ing the lid. This will keep the pesto from oxi­diz­ing and turn­ing a dis­taste­ful black­ish-brown col­or. If you store with a tight fit­ting lid, and topped olive oil, this pesto will last months in your fridge. But it won’t real­ly last months — ’cause it’s too good to sit around look­ing pret­ty on a fridge shelf.

Sweet Basil & Thyme Blos­som Pesto
Yields 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingre­di­ents
  1. 5 c packed sweet basil leaves
  2. 10–15 thyme blos­soms (or 1–2 sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed)
  3. 2 c toast­ed wal­nuts
  4. 6 oz parme­san cheese, cut into small chunks
  5. 10 chives sprigs, chopped
  6. 10- 20 leaves of fresh oregano
  7. 10 mint leaves (choco­late mint to be exact), stems removed
  8. 10 sprigs of Ital­ian pars­ley, stems removed
  9. 1 t red pep­per flakes, option­al
  10. 3 medi­um-sized gar­lic cloves, peeled and crushed
  11. 1–2 t salt
  12. 1 t black pep­per
  13. 1/2 t sug­ar
  14. 1 to 1 1/2 c olive oil
  15. 1 c canola oil
Instruc­tions
  1. Wash, rinse and dry all herbs. Place all ingre­di­ents (except oil and s & p) in the food proces­sor. Add salt and pep­per (black and red) in mod­er­a­tion, know­ing you can always add more. While puls­ing, add oil until desired con­sis­ten­cy is obtained. Taste and adjust sea­son­ing, adding more salt, pep­per and sug­ar if need­ed.
  2. Store in 8 oz jars, cov­er­ing the pesto with olive oil before plac­ing the lid. This will keep the pesto from oxi­diz­ing and turn­ing a dis­taste­ful black­ish-brown col­or. If you store with a tight fit­ting lid and topped olive oil, this pesto will last months in your fridge.
  3. Makes 4 — 8 oz jars.
Notes
  1. * cov­er with olive oil after every use
Adapt­ed from Food for a Year
Adapt­ed from Food for a Year
Food for a Year: https://foodforayear.com/

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