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It has been a whirlwind here at The Farm! My sister, brother-in-law, and nieces are visiting for an extended summer stay. We’re bustling with the energy of a 2- and 4-year-old! They are eager to help with the many chores I have. From weeding the gardens and watering the flowers to picking green beans and canning beets and peaches, they are diligent workers. Now, we have started to put away corn for the long winter months! Whew, you would think that was an exaggeration. This makes me sound like a workaholic; don’t worry, I enjoy all of this but do not do it alone! Canning, freezing, and gardening have always been a family affair. From my grandma to my mother, I am used to working together to learn from the ones that know best (and have the most experience).
One of the extra fun items I have begun to freeze and use throughout the year is basil pesto. I plant plenty of basil in the kitchen garden to ensure that I have extra to use for preserving pesto. If you do not have a garden, store-bought basil will work great as well. Pesto is extremely multifunctional in the kitchen: toss with pasta (hot or cold), use as a spread in wraps, slather on baked chicken, or concoct your own use. This pesto will become a kitchen staple.
A food processor is the best option to make large quantities. If you don’t have one, your blender will be an excellent substitute. This recipe will make a thick paste, as is customary for pesto. For a thinner version, simply add more oil. I like to leave mine thicker so I have the option to change it according to the recipe I want to use it with. You can adjust any of the quantities to follow your tastes. Pine nuts are the traditional nut in pesto but can be costly. You can increase other nuts to compensate!
I freeze the finished product in Ball pint jars with a tight-fitting lid. The pesto will freeze hard so you will need to allow the pesto to stand at room temperature for an hour before use.
This pesto is wonderful fresh as well, but I always have too much basil to use and can’t imagine letting the herbs go to waste. Try it out and let us know what you think!
- 6 cups basil (washed air dried, with the leaves pulled off the stems)
- ½-¾ cup olive oil
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup walnuts (or almonds)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix. Depending on the desired thickness, add more oil (or any other ingredient) as needed.6 cups basil (washed air dried, with the leaves pulled off the stems), ½-¾ cup olive oil, ½ cup pine nuts, ½ cup walnuts (or almonds), 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 5-6 cloves garlic, 1 tsp salt