Sunday, July 25, 2010

Freezing pesto

From Jenny Also Cooks

Most gardens end up with a surplus of basil, and I was excited about various ways of preserving it for later. Even after pulling up all of our cinnamon basil (too spicy!), I had enough to make two batches of pesto, even just by pinching off the flowering parts down to where new leaves were forming.

Tips I kept reading online:
-Leave the parmesan out. Something about how it freezes better without it, and is easy to add back in later.
-Freeze in ice cube trays, then once frozen remove and place into freezer bag.

For this experiment I made an adaptation of the pesto recipe in The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. Pine nuts are expensive, but when I leave nuts out entirely, I feel like the balance is off. Nathaniel is fairly allergic to most nuts but I'm not sure that hazelnuts give him as much trouble (I'll be double checking that later today!). My Mom had sent me a huge bag of them that I keep in my freezer, so the day before I planned to make pesto I peeled and roasted them since that can be a complicated process.

The day of, I just made it in batches in my food processor - whirred the garlic with the nuts, added the basil, then added the olive oil until it made a different pasty sucking sound. A little pinch of salt and then right into the ice cube trays!

From Jenny Also Cooks

Today I took 9 cubes of frozen pesto cubes out and let them defrost a little. Once the pasta cooked I added the cubes to the hot pan and let them finish warming, tossed it with the pasta and parmesan cheese. I will make several more batches this summer for enjoying over the no-garden-basil months, as it seems to work pretty well!


  1. You could use the cinnamon basil to make tea, though....

  2. Our food co-op mentioned using cashews as a cheaper alternative to pine nuts that still suggests that wonderful richness of pine nuts. I like the ice cube tray idea...