Pesto Trained and Certified baby.

Pesto Certified Harvesting Basil

It’s been downright chilly this week – but that hasn’t stopped the plants from growing. Everything is growing like gang-busters – including the lettuce and basil in the kitchen garden. It rained almost the entire day yesterday and I wanted to make pesto spaghetti for supper. The cold and the rain made it the perfect time to teach the kids how to harvest basil and make pesto.

“Yeah, you guys go out there and get mom some basil… take your socks off or wear some shoes… it’s wet out there!)

Pesto Certified Harvesting Basil 2

Such troopers.

I think the cold made them even more eager to learn about the right way to harvest basil. That’s how we get things done here in Minnesota – we laser focus on tasks in dropping temperatures.

Pesto Certified John Harvesting Basil

“Make sure everyone gets at least twelve leaves.”

Pesto Certified Emma Harvesting Basil

These basil plants have been in the kitchen garden for a little over a week and they’re already good-to-go for pruning.

Most folks are a little afraid to cut new plants – but aggressive harvesting means those basil plants will turn into basil bushes… and that means more basil for pesto. I can get over five hundred cups of basil from the 24 basil plants in the kitchen garden. The more you cut, the more you can harvest.

Cold feet make for quick harvesting.Pesto Certified John

The last one in – PJ could garden and harvest and cook all day long.

Look at that smile.Pesto Certified PJ

Time to break out the microplaner for some freshly grated Parmesan.

I bought a dozen wedges of this excellent Parmesan Reggiano for pesto when Byerly’s had a big sale before Christmas. So glad it’s on hand. It keeps forever in the fridge.
Pesto Certified Emma PJ John in the kitchen

It was time to break out the light saber – aka the microplaner I bought from kitchen window. Just keeping their attention.

Turns out, the first time you use an extra sharp microplaner it’s really an amazing thing. Pretty cool – right John?
Pesto Certified Emma john PJ grating parmesan

Everybody took turns grating the parmesan.Pesto Certified Emma John Microplaner Parmesan

John was ready to try it on his own…Pesto Certified John Microplaner Parmesan

John’s got skills…. cooking skills!
Pesto Certified John Microplaner MasteryAfter eight minutes, the spaghetti was ready. The parmesan was freshly grated. The basil was harvested and chopped into pesto with some pine nuts, walnuts, olive oil and salt.

And, just like that – the kids are officially pesto trained and certified. Warms my heart.

Garden to table.

New skills.

Happy supper.Pesto Certified First Batch of Kid Made Pesto

Still growing...




Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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