Monday, September 21, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Freezing Pesto

There is something uniquely 'summer' about fresh pesto. The green, the taste, even the smell can bring back warm days and the idea that another summer may just be around the corner. Store bought pesto has always seemed sort of lifeless to me. I love the ease of it, and really enjoy the extra flavor it can bring, but it just doesn't have the zing of freshly made pesto with basil strait from the farm or garden. With that in mind, I went about trying to store some of that summer flare for my families winter meals.

I froze 12 half pints of pesto last week after being gifted with a crazy amount of basil. Last year, when I froze it, I left the cheese in. This didn't freeze too well and so I decided this year that I would just leave the cheese out and add it when we made the dish instead.

Basic Pesto for Freezing

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 - 3 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put everything in a food processor and pulse until you get the consistency you want. Makes one half pint (I only have a 1 cup food processor. I am pretty sure the recipe can be doubled or more, but I wasn't able to test it. If someone does do this, would you leave me a comment letting me know how it turned out? Thanks!).

I packed mine in half pint mason jars that I left 1/2 inch head space then froze.

For this recipe, I pulled out my mini food processor. I only use the thing about once a month, but I do love having it as one of my very few kitchen gadgets.

We have already used this recipe for my Pesto Pasta Salad and it turned out great! So much better than store bought.

"The leaning tower of Pesto"

I had a bunch of basil left over, and asked my husband what I should do with it... and he said "give it away. I think 6 pints of pesto is enough." lol! I think he is probably right.




Chell said...

YUMMY!!!!! Love fresh Pesto!!

Wählen Sie Ihr Gift said...

So, You can freeze the glass jars?

Rachel said...

Oh, that looks so good! I'll try making a batch in a few days. Yummy!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Wählen Sie Ihr Gift: Yes, you can freeze in mason jars. The only time I have had jars break is when I filled them too full. Then the expansion in the freezing process breaks the jars. If I leave 1/2 inch headspace, I never have trouble. :) I freeze leftover soup that way often. Then when we want it again, it takes a day in the fridge or a naptime on the counter and it is ready for reheating and eating. My dh just picked me up the plastic lids for mason jars and I have been using those... they are WONDERFUL for storage!

Chell & Rachel: Now is the time to get to a farmers market for basil to make pesto. If you go at the end of the day, they may even give you a great deal. :) It only takes two cups of basil for a half pint of pesto... which is about what you buy in the store. Enjoy!

Judy said...

You are the guru of canning.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I was about to do the exact same this this weekend, but all four of us came down with nasty colds, so it has been placed on the back burner. But I cannot wait to give this a shot, thank you!!

Andrea said...

I always buy pesto already made. I think I am going to make my own and freeze it this year. Just love your blog and am now your newest follower. When you have a chance check out my blog

Anonymous said...

Yes ..I put up freezer jam in glass jars. Just leave some room at top for expansion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I am going to make this tomorrow as I have so much home grown basil ! I am just wondering how long will it last in the freezer in the jars. Thank you!!

Shannon Jensen said...

I multiplied x4 in a full sized processor:
8 cups basil leaves
1-1/3 cups evoo
1 cup walnuts
1 full head garlic, cloves peeled
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Made approx. 2 pints.

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