Although Basil Pesto is a food recipe, I’m adding it to Sarah Munro’s collection because originally pesto was a way to preserve extra basil that came out of gardens. Once it’s cut, it can be dried but doesn’t last long in its fresh state. So for centuries, people have been coming up with ways to save it in the freshest way possible. Below is one of the original recipes that dates back to colonial days, which is why Sarah Munro, (my PhD historian and heroine in book 2 of the Deadly Force series, ONE DARK WISH), has added it to her collection of DIY herbal recipes.

Basil in a glass jar

But, if you’re adventurous you can modify it any way you prefer. You can switch out the pine nuts for walnuts or pecans. Mix in some spinach leaves with the basil leaves. Add different types of salt. Substitute lime juice for lemon juice. The possibilities are endless! Pesto is great with pasta, chicken, fish, and grilled veggies. It’s a perfect summer complement to most foods cooked on the grill, and it’s a way to preserve the freshest flavors of basil for the darkest days of winter.


Sarah Munro’s Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • dash of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the basil leaves and pine nuts 4-5 times.

Add the garlic and cheese and and lemon juice and pulse about 6-8 times, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula between pulses.

Turn on the processor and slowly (very slowly!) drip in the olive oil. (if you don’t pour it in slowly, it won’t emulsify) Pause frequently to scrape down the sides. Process until all of the oil is mixed with the basil/cheese mixture and there’s no oil floating on top.

Add the salt and pepper and pulse a few more times to make sure everything is well mixed. Serve immediately.

If you want to store the pesto, place in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep in the refrigerator. Or you could freeze the pest in an ice cube tray so you have individual cubes of pesto to use during the winter. Once the pesto is frozen, pop out the pesto cubes and put them into a freezer bag and return to the freezer. If frozen, the pesto will last six months. If not frozen, it will last 3 months in the refrigerator.


IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER ABOUT WILD PLANTS, FORAGING, AND MAKING HERBAL REMEDIES:

I am not a medical professional and nothing written on this blog is medical advice. None of my statements have been evaluated by the FDA (I am legally required to give you this disclaimer).

It is important to do your due diligence before foraging, harvesting, and/or consuming any type of medicinal plant.

  • If you are taking any medications, talk to your doctor about any potential drug interactions.
  • If you are allergic to anything, make sure whatever you are foraging is not in the same family. Example: While dandelions are typically considered safe, those who are allergic to ragweed, latex, daisies, or any other plants in the same or similar families, may not be able to consume dandelion.

Always research potential side effectsdosage recommendations, and how to properly prepare and consume each medicinal plant.

Always make sure you are foraging what you believe to be. Fully prepare and study the anatomy before harvesting wild plants.

Always make sure your kitchen/work area is clean and that all materials are sterilized.

Do not forage plants from areas that have been sprayed within the past 2 years at the very least.

I am not legally or morally responsible for the health of any of my readers. Please do your own research!


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