Freezing Pesto


Do you ever wonder what to do with an overload of well producing basil? Do you also crave fresh foods in the winter? With just a little bit of preparation, you can answer both questions!

When you keep basil blooms pinched back, the plants grow tall and bushy.  At every juncture you pinch off a budding flower spike, the plant will shoot off more leaves. Continue to do this for several weeks and you end up with a robust harvest of basil.

I prefer the large leaves of sweet Genovese basil. Not only does it have that distinctive basil flavor, but the large leaves quickly fill a bowl. I use a considerable amount of basil fresh; in Caprese salads and fresh pesto. But, I also like having home-made pesto in the winter as a quick pasta sauce. 

Basil does turn dark when exposed to cold so you might be surprised to find there is a way to keep it beautifully green in the freezer. The secret is to pack the freshly made pesto into jars and cover with a thin layer of olive oil, close with a tight fitting lid and freeze immediately. The olive oil seems to create a barrier that keeps the color a nice green.

My version of pesto uses pinenuts and I do like it fairly garlicky. You can adjust the amount of garlic to your own taste. I use 2 ounce canning jars with plastic lids. One jar this size holds the right amount of pesto to create a pasta sauce for two people. It keeps well for at least one year. Pictured is a jar I just pulled out of the freezer to use.

6/4/2018 8:44:06 PM

The photo is of an ice cube tray? Wrong photo?

6/4/2018 11:40:34 AM

Thank you so much for this! I love pesto and had no idea that you can freeze it without it turning an icky black color. Since it's still fairly early, I am going to plant more basil I have a winter supply!

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