Today the third grade learned about making pesto. On Tuesday, some students went outside with volunteers (thanks to new volunteers Corey and Nichole, and their daughter and her friend!) to harvest basil from the front garden plots and circle garden. Using clippers or scissors, the students cut basil from the stem, then saved them in jars and vases of water as one would do with cut flowers. (This is the best way to store basil, by the way. If you stick it in the fridge, it gets brown and slimy right away.) Teachers stripped the leaves from the stems and gathered the rest of the ingredients for a pesto-making demo this afternoon, and then all the kids enjoyed a fresh pesto snack with bread!
Want to make your own pesto? (Good idea! Basil is usually pretty cheap at the local markets this time of year.) Here's how!
Pulverize in a blender or food processor:
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves, any variety
1-2 cloves garlic
1 scant teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds OR roasted unsalted walnuts
1/4-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese*
(*If you're going to freeze the pesto for later use, leave out the cheese. It freezes better without.)
Note: Pesto will oxidize after a day and look brown. It won't change the flavor; it's just what basil does. If you don't like the brown color and aren't going to use or eat your pesto immediately, stir in a little lemon juice; it will help prevent the pesto from discoloring and tastes good, too.
So much is going on outside in the first part of the school year. Classes have taken woods walks, harvested beans, observed plants and much more. We have a CAPT meeting coming up next Tuesday where you can learn more about volunteering with OE (among other opportunities), the ice cream social in a couple weeks with student-led tours of the grounds, a new tool shed in the works, our Art in the Garden project, and...I'm sure I'm forgetting something here. It's an exciting time to be outdoors!
As the Kratt brothers say, see you on the wild side. Cheers,