Friday, October 24, 2008

MoFo 24: Freezing Homemade Pesto Sauce

Freezing Pesto
Originally uploaded by Marni Molina
This is another one of my favorite things to make a freeze. Whenever I have basil ready to be harvested, and I don't use it for something else, I make batches of pesto sauce. Yum! I love pesto. Who doesn't?

Pesto will keep in the freezer for months and months, though mine never lasts that long. Just make a batch of pesto using your favorite recipe and pour it into an ice cube tray. Each of the cubes in my trays hold about 4 teaspoons of liquid. This is good to know for later so test yours out before you freeze your sauce.

Pop your pesto-filled trays in the freezer and when they are frozen solid, transfer your little cubes of pesto into an air-tight freezer bag. Label your bag with the contents and date and you are good to go!

The reason I like freezing my pesto this way is because of the versatility it affords. I love having pesto on hand to use as a major component in a dish - like on pasta or pizza - or as a embellishment to other dishes - like in soups, on mashed or baked potatoes, on roasted veggies, pesto-smothered seitan (yum!), etc. Having pesto frozen in these perfect little packages means I can use as much or as little as I want at any given moment.

Basil grows year-round here, but I know it doesn't everywhere.  Now is a great time to begin harvesting the last of your basil and freezing pesto for later.

And while we're talking pesto, I like to encourage everyone to experiment with the standard pesto recipe. Sub out various herbs for the basil! Parsley is a fine substitute and often, if I don't have enough basil for a full batch of pesto, I'll use parsley to round it out. Also, sub out other nuts for the pine nuts. I love walnut pesto. Get creative!


Jeni Treehugger said...

Your lucky Basil grows year round - it doesn't here. But I LOVE Basil soooo much. Pesto must be one of my favourite things in the world - I eat the stuff neat!!

jessy said...

thanks for the tip on parsley - i'm going to have to give some a whirl sometime! i love walnuts in my pesto, too - and sometimes a few cashews for a little creamier taste. mmmmmmmmmmm! hooray for freezing pesto! i love freezing tomato paste, too - whenever i open one of those little jars i can't use it fast enough - so in the freezer it goes! wheeeeee!

Marni said...

Jeni Treehugger - I know, we really are lucky here. I love basil, too and pesto is the bestest. So so good.

Jessy - I've never heard of freezing tomato paste but I think that's the coolest idea I've heard in a long time! I have the same problem, I can't ever get through a jar or can of paste fast enough. Brilliant! Thanks for the tip. You rock!

allularpunk said...

i would think i'd died and gone to heaven if i lived in a place where basil grew year-round. also, my mom freezes pesto in ice cube trays as well. i only have 1 ice cube tray, so i usually freeze it in my tiniest tupperwares. ALSO, cashews in pesto is the best thing around.