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Basil Harvest Makes for Good Eats

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Early Friday morning, the farmers in Anne Siskin’s third/fourth-grade class headed to Sunflower Sentry Garden to harvest baskets of fragrant basil. When they returned to their room, Barbara Adams showed the class how to wash and dry the leaves and prepare ingredients for a French pistou sauce. Much like Italian pesto, this sauce uses freshly squeezed lemon juice rather than pine nuts. Within the hour, the kids had a huge bowl of the delicious sauce that they slathered on to slices of baguette. Later this week, students will pour the leftover sauce over hot pasta for a delicious, morning snack.


Farmers were amazed at the gorgeous scent of fresh basil. As they picked the sprigs, their hands were permeated with its scented oils.



The kids learned that pistou is really easy to make. Measure four cups of basil leaves and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan-reggiano cheese, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper to the bowl. Pulse the ingredients until just chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour ½ cup of olive oil into the processor tube and mix until smooth. Stop. Taste. Adjust to your personal preferences. Enjoy.

The kids made five batches in one hour!



Kids practiced their measuring skills and helped each other create this fresh, fragrant green sauce.



Grating cheese is one of the most popular duties in all of the cooking sessions. These girls prepared lots of real parmesan-reggiano cheese for the sauce. And if you were watching, you would have seen them nibbling all of the little pieces that broke off the main block of cheese.



Tasting is very important so that cooks can adjust  seasonings for best results.



Four chefs.



Everyone took turns slathering the sauce on top of the baguette slices then topping them with a sprinkling of parmesan-reggiano cheese.



Beautiful! Delicious! The kids took trays of the pistou crostinies to Sunflower Sentry Garden and devoured them.