Here’s all you need to make & freeze Pesto:

Two hefty handfuls of fresh Basil, shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts, fresh lemon juice, olive oil and 1 ice cube tray for freezing.  A few great fresh ingredients that pack a punch!  If you have to buy your Basil, I am partial to https://www.freshherbs.com/

A good time to harvest is when you see it start to flower or “go to seed”.  As you trim the plant, be sure to cut leaves off the stem just above the next set of baby leaves to keep it flourishing.  From the batch you’ve cut, remove the stems and only work with the leaves.  Feel free to add the flowers too.

Gently soak in cold water to shake off any dirt and spin dry very carefully.  Basil leaves are delicate~too much handling will rob them of their anti-oxidants and oils.

 

This is my favorite Pesto recipe~not too garlicky, not too much Basil, enough Pine nuts to give it that sweetness, just the right amount of Parm and quick splash of lemon to brighten it.  I prefer to use a peppery olive oil but you can learn with each batch how you like it.

 

  • 2 handfuls fresh Basil, soaked & spun dry
  • 1/3 c. shredded fresh Parmesan, not grated
  • 3 cloves peeled garlic
  • 4T. pine nuts
  • 1/3c. olive oil
  • squirt of fresh lemon juice

In a food processor, fitted with the chopping blade, or blender, add all ingredients. Blend well. If it needs to be smoother, use the continuous ON button while adding more olive oil through the feed tube.  This will make about 6-7 standard ice cubes.

STORAGE

 

Freezer: use ice cube trays and fill as you would with water. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 24 hrs.  Remove cubes from trays, pop into freezer bags, seal well,  freeze and use as needed.    To thaw, pop a cube or two in a microwave safe dish, put on medium high power for 30-60 seconds.  Stir into your sauce or soup! ***Pine Nuts do best kept in the freezer too.

Substitutions

Pecans do not freeze well in pesto, but I’ve had success with walnuts & almonds in place of pine nuts.  Avocado or nut oils are a good sub for olive oil.  Measure on the lighter side until you’ve sampled it;  you can always add more!  Never use canola or vegetable oil (neither of these will stand up in flavor or over time).   Asiago can step in for the Parm too.

Share a few of your favorite ways to use Pesto!

For more ideas with fresh Basil, http://www.thethymesavor.com/fresh-basil-the-gentle-giant-of-fresh-herbs/

 

Happy in the Kitchen!