It’s time to make the pesto before the first freeze!
Every year about this time, I walk right by the big bags of daffodil bulbs parked near the entrance of every home improvement store and garden center. I say to myself “you should really get some of those. You know you’ll be so happy in March.”
I blink, the holidays are over, spring is on the way, and everyone else has beautiful bulbs in bloom. Never fails.
Don’t make the same mistake with your basil.
Right now, while you’re taking that end-of-season fresh basil for granted and you’re even sort of sick of it, before the first big killing frost, make a batch or two of pesto and freeze it. Come February, I guarantee you’ll be so thankful for that aromatic fresh flavor tossed with linguini, stirred into mashed potatoes, combined with mayo and smeared on a sandwich, or swirled into a hot winter soup. Yes, delayed gratification is a good thing.
You can make a good basic pesto with or without the cheese for freezing. I’ve had great results both ways. If you leave out the cheese, it won’t take up as much room in the freezer. Thaw and stir in the Parmesan before using. Lots of folks like the convenience of freezing pesto in ice cube trays (if you still have some of those lying around). Pop out the green cubes and store them in a big freezer bag. Now grab a cube or two whenever. Or, spoon the pesto directly into small freezer bags so they are filled in a thin layer and sealed. Flat, thin bags stack and store so nicely.
- 4 cups packed basil leaves or at least 3 cups basil and 1 cup parsley
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cups pine nuts
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts , olive oil and salt in the food processor.
- Process until smoothish. Add the cheese and pulse a few more times. Now it's ready to use.
- To store for later, pour into an airtight container and pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top to keep it from turning brown.
- You can freeze it in small plastic containers, in ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes to freezer bags or spoon direction into freezer bags. Some folks prefer to leave out the cheese when freezing and adding just before serving. Works both ways.