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
- mint (chocolate mint to be exact)
- Italian parsley
- red pepper flakes
- black pepper
- 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.
- 5 c packed sweet basil leaves
- 10-15 thyme blossoms (or 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed)
- 2 c toasted walnuts
- 6 oz parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
- 10 chives sprigs, chopped
- 10- 20 leaves of fresh oregano
- 10 mint leaves (chocolate mint to be exact), stems removed
- 10 sprigs of Italian parsley, stems removed
- 1 t red pepper flakes, optional
- 3 medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1-2 t salt
- 1 t black pepper
- 1/2 t sugar
- 1 to 1 1/2 c olive oil
- 1 c canola oil
- 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.
- 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.
- Makes 4 - 8 oz jars.
- * cover with olive oil after every use