Kids Make Pesto at Juan Cabrillo

Our perennial basil plants at Juan Cabrillo have been ready for some time to be used for a delicious recipe. So to finish our first rotation of classes, I introduced a traditional Italian spread to the kids: pesto.

In their journals, they drew the four ingredients needed for this recipe: olive oil, Parmesean cheese, basil and garlic. Then Frank and I asked the students to help harvest the leaves of the basil plant for this recipe. They were instructed to pick only the leaves – not the stem or purple flowers. Each student picked 5 leaves. It was a perfect amount for a batch of pesto!

Afterwards, Frank and I assembled the ingredients in the small food processor and held it up for the kids to watch the ingredients spin into a puree. Lots of oo-s and aaah-s followed!

Of course we got a chance to taste this delicious spread … on saltine crackers! I told the kids they could also try it on toast or mix it with pasta.

Then we reviewed the ingredients once more so the kids who really enjoyed it could tell their parents about it!


Hope Cox

Hope is an urban farmer, garden educator and foodie transplanted from Tennessee to SoCal in 2014. She hopes to move out of the big city one day to pursue the life of a sustainable farmer; but in the meantime loves to teach elementary kids about how food is grown, nutritious and tasty recipes and connecting with nature.