Then transfer the pesto cubes to sealable plastic bags. There are two ways to go about freezing pesto, each with different end-uses. Basil gets its flavor from some very volatile aroma compounds that are easily lost, so you need to be gentle as you work with it. Spread whole leaves of basil on a sheet of waxed paper. Whether you’re freezing a small or large batch, use the frozen pesto within 6 months. Leave them for a few days and once dry, crush them (or store the leaves whole) in a Mason jar. *If you are going to freeze the pesto - stop here. If … Lightly oil the front and back of each leaf with olive oil. Pesto freezes better without the cheese added. Serve a dollop with grilled vegetables, or change up your typical pizza by featuring pesto as a topping. Using a Toast for a few minutes or until golden brown, shaking the pan occasionally to toss the pine nuts … An award-winning food writer and cookbook author, Molly Watson has created more than 1,000 recipes focused on local, seasonal ingredients. For truly brilliantly green pesto, you need to start at the beginning: the basil. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. To freeze small amounts of pesto, put spoonfuls of pesto into ice cube trays and place in the freezer until solid. Whenever you want a little hit of summer basil flavor, just toss a cube or two into the hot dish; or defrost and spread onto sandwiches. In addition to adding a layer of olive oil before freezing a large batch of pesto, you can use another trick to help maintain the basil’s bright green hue. To freeze larger amounts of pesto—from 1/2 cup and up—transfer the pesto to a sealable container, cover the surface of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil, tightly seal the container, and place in the freezer. To freeze small amounts of pesto, put spoonfuls of pesto into ice cube trays and place in the freezer until solid. 1. Get daily tips and expert advice to help you take your cooking skills to the next level. Having large amounts of pesto on hand is perfect when you need to throw together a quick dinner, such as tossing with a bowl of pasta or using as a flavorful topping for grilled salmon. Spread them out so they are not piled onto each other. There are so many creative and delicious ways to incorporate pesto into recipes, beyond simply adding to a bowl of pasta. That layer of olive oil will minimize browning on the surface of the pesto as it freezes. I’d love to try the butter and basil salt, too! If you are not going to freeze, or once you have thawed your pesto, proceed to the next step. The only problem is that basil has a bit of a short season, so when it is in peak, you need to grab it (or harvest from your garden) and grab a lot, and then use it right away to make large batches of pesto. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.). When unexpected guests arrive, throw together a quick appetizer by using the defrosted pesto as a spread on crostini and topping with slices of tomato and mozzarella. Make sure to cut your basil before it goes to seed – this will ensure that you receive the maximum flavor from each leaf. Pesto freezes better without the cheese added. South American pesto is called chimichurri and has ingredients like paprika, cumin and peppers and is used to flavour fish and meat. Before whirling the basil leaves in the food processor, give the leaves a quick dunk in boiling water (in other words, blanch it) to "set" its green color that stays, remarkably, a beautiful brilliant green once made into pesto. If you planted basil this spring, I am sure that you have personally witnessed it’s immense growth and aroma. Pinch off the leaves and lay them on a cookie sheet or paper. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, How To Preserve Basil – Including A Basil Pesto Recipe, Eating Fresh From The Garden – Harvest Season Is In Full Swing. Whenever you want a little hit of summer basil flavor, just toss a cube or two into the hot dish; or defrost and spread onto sandwiches. Pesto freezes well and allows basil to keep much fresher than any other preservation method. Australians use macadamia nuts. But don’t worry—you don't have to eat it all at once since pesto freezes beautifully. Just don’t let your basil go to waste – you will be craving it on those cold winter days. 4. 5. Chop a leaf or two and place them in a section of an ice cube tray and fill with water. Add to a simple salad dressing, or spread on a turkey or chicken sandwich. Of course, besides making basil pesto, add basil to any tomato dish for a classic flavor. Roll the spread out leaves in the wax paper. By using The Spruce Eats, you accept our, 5 Delicious Ways to Cook Stinging Nettles, 27 Basil Recipes Featuring the Fresh Summer Herb, Dairy-Free Basil Cashew Pesto: Savory Sauces, Satisfying Lunch and Dinner Dishes for Hot Weather, What to Use If You Do Not Have Tomato Sauce. You can freeze pesto in larger amounts (1/2 to 1 cup) that can be tossed with pasta for a quick dinner, as well as smaller amounts (1 to 2 tablespoons) that can be added to other dishes for a burst of basil pesto summer flavor when the weather turns less warm and sunny. 2. If you aren’t quite ready to use the basil but need to cut it down, cut each stem leaving at least 2 pairs of leaves per stem. Pulse a few times. 3. The absolute best way to preserve both the flavor and color of basil is to make Pesto, a common Italian sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts. Thai basil, coriander, lemon grass, mint and ginger go in Asian Pesto. Freeze, remove and store in an air tight container. Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow, and it can quickly can become large and out of control. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add to pasta, potatoes, and chicken dishes, or serve over toasted baguette slices.Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms, Place the basil and the pine nuts in a food processor. To thaw frozen pesto, either place in the refrigerator ahead of time or microwave on the defrost setting, stopping and stirring intermittently. Preserving in salt (no oil), making basil vinegar, freezing whole leaves, and a couple batches of the roasted tomato-basil soup since I have tomatoes to use up, too. Then transfer the pesto cubes to sealable plastic bags. Take a Look at Bay Laurel Freeze in a freezer bag. *If you are going to freeze the pesto – stop here. Don’t even think about drying the basil; it will lose all of its flavor and you’ll be stuck with some crumbling, flavorless leaves. While you can freeze pesto in full-batch amounts, it is also convenient to freeze pesto in smaller portions to be used as quick flavor-enhancers (without being the full flavor force of the dish)—swirl in soups or stir into salad dressings, or add a dollop to a bowl of rice. Place the stem in lukewarm water without submerging the leaves. It is also handy when you need a speedy appetizer, or want to try a simple but impressive recipe for stuffed chicken breasts.
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