One of the saddest things that happens every fall is the first freeze that kills my basil. I have very little growing in my garden this year but I do have basil. I have been making this spinach pesto every time I have enough basil to pick. If you have never made pesto before it is easy.
Things to Know About Freezing Pesto
- If you are going to buy basil to make pesto , the best place I have found is at the Gardner’s Markets. At my Gardner’s market a large bag of basil is about $2.00 a bag. Sometimes it is as cheap as $1.00 a bag. The grocery store sells basil for $2.00 a sprig. I have also heard from friends that live in the city that you can get basil at a great price from Asian grocery stores, but since I live in the country and there is definitely not an Asian Grocery within 50 miles of me I just go to the Gardner’s market.
- If you are not up to making your own pesto this year, see if you can get a good deal on some. Any pesto will freeze well. I sometimes buy pesto from Sam’s club and freeze it in smaller portions.
- If you just want to freeze your excess basil. Chop it and place it in the ice cube tray or muffin tin. Cover with water and freeze. When frozen remove from ice cube tray or muffin tin and store in a heavy duty freezer bag. This work well for many kinds of herbs. Try it with parsley, cilantro, or what ever you have. These iced herbs can be added to soup, casseroles, sauces.
- Pesto can be frozen in a bunch of different ways.
In Muffin Tins
photo source: thebittenword.com
After the pesto is firm, pop it out and freeze in heavy duty Ziploc bag. You can also use ice cube trays but I find that using the muffin tin freezes the pesto in the correct portion size.
In Small Mason Jars
photo source: by lejoeThis is a lovely way to freeze pesto. If you have a ton of basil make these and freeze for Christmas gifts. When glass is frozen, I find that it is brittle, so be careful with it.
I usually freeze pesto in Ziploc bags because it takes up less space in my freezer (remember freeze it flat and then stack it) and if I just want a little pesto I can easily break it off with out defrosting the entire bag.
Freezer Spinach Pesto
5 cups Packed Spinach, washed and dried
½ bunch Parsley, washed and dried
1-4 cloves Garlic
2-4 cup Fresh Basil, washed and dried (flowers and stems removed)
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup pine nuts or unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
1 ¼ c grated Parmesan cheese (use nice cheese)
Put all ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor.
image source: by thebittenword.com
Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle the olive oil in. Process to a coarse paste, this will take a few minutes, be patient.
Image Source by thebittenword.com
Pack into freezer bags, small jars, or freezer containers and freeze.
To use: Defrost on counter or fridge. DO NOT HEAT.
Serve over pasta, a dip for bread, or for the filling for a quesadilla (with chicken and mozzarella cheese).
To serve with pasta cook pasta according to package directions, drain leaving a small amount of water with the pasta. Toss pesto with pasta until coated.
This post is the second in a series about adding frozen food to your short term food storage, If you missed it check it out. Part 1: Easy Frozen Corn
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