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It has been a whirlwind few days here at The Farm! With my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces visiting for an extended summer stay, we’re bustling with the energy of a 2 ½ and 4 ½ year old! They are diligently 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. 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
You amaze me Kaleb!!! Love pesto. Hope you have a great rest of the summer.
Thanks Amy! You are too kind!
love this idea! definitely going to try this with the basil from my mini garden. xoxo
You’ve inspired me. I have two basil plants that are so big and I’ll have to make a batch of pesto using your recipe. Another option to freezing is to put the basil in ice cube trays. After it is frozen you can put the cubes in a ziploc bag and take out a little bit at a time as needed.
Donna, so glad we inspired you, and you us! Love the idea of ice cube trays, so smart! Let us know how it turns out!!
Kaleb, some receipes say to add the cheese later when using do. You thing that’s ok? I don’t have any right now so I was processing the other stuff.
Lois, I’m sure that would work. You may want to reblend the pesto when you add the cheese to make sure it is incorporated. Let me know how it turns out this way!
I am trying this recipe for freezing basil pesto so our fresh basil does not go to waste. My pesto does not look bright green as yours does, but it tastes great. How do you keep your pesto looking so green? Mine is.very dark green almost brown.
There are a few things that can turn basil brown. I try and pick the basil then instantly use it, quickly rinse if but do not over wash as that can brown the leaves. If basil sets in the fridge or in the counter for too long it can turn brown also! Also if the pesto once made sits at room temperature it will steadily darken. I hope this helps!!
I can jams and jellies and pie fillings and give them in gift baskets for the holidays and was wondering if there was a way to can pesto. I don’t know if thats even an option because you don’t really “cook” pesto but I just thought I would ask. If not, what would be your best suggestion for packaging pesto so I can gift them?
I absolutely love your blog and your YouTube channel! You really inspire me to do more gardening and canning for the winter =)
I love your gifts for the holidays, homemade gifts are so much fun! I hadn’t thought of canning pesto before, it’s a great idea in theory but as you mention cooking pesto isn’t a good idea. Cooking a fresh pesto actually causes a lot of the flavors to be diminished. You probably could can pesto but I wouldn’t recommend it! Happy gifting, as the holidays are coming I’m sure your planning your baskets!
I’ve made pesto for years and never thought to mix the type of nuts. Love this idea and the complex flavor it produced. I’ve made enough to freeze and will certainly repeat this recipe over and over again.
Amazing basic basil pesto perfect for freezing! I did add a little coarse pepper to mine and also used a blend of grated Parm/Romano. So happy to have jars of it tucked away in my freezer to crack open in the dead of winter and feel summer all over again!