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Presto it’s PESTO!

August 12, 2011

Making pesto  is an excellent way to preserve some of summer’s freshness.  The process of cutting and preparing basil creates such a delicious smell in both the garden and the kitchen that it’s hard not to want to make enough to last throughout the winter months.  And, that’s just what we did! 

Using scissors Suzann and I cut the stocks of the basil plant to within 3″- 5″ of the base.  This way the plant will continue to grow and produce more leaves.  Next, you’ll need to remove the basil leaves from the stems which can seem like a daunting task (especially,when making large batches of pesto).  However, this process can move along quite quickly if you have a couple of extra sets of hands helping out.  So, get the kids involved or invite a couple of friends over for a drink around a large bowl of basil…you’re sure to get the job done in a hurry and have fun doing it! 

RECIPE FOR PESTO:

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  1. Remove basil leaves, wash well, and strain as much water as possible using either a Starfrit salad spinner or a tea towel.
  2. Using a food processor place basil leaves, garlic cloves, salt, and pine nuts in the blender and pulse until ingredients are finely minced.  Add olive oil and pulse again to combine.
  3. Place 2-3 large spoonfuls of the pesto into freezer bags or food saver bags and seal.  Put in freezer to preserve.   Should last at least 1 year (if not longer).

While making the pesto to preserve why not whip some Bruschetta.  It’s easy and will give your helpful hands a welcome break from removing the leaves.

RECIPE FOR BRUSCHETTA:

  • 6-8 slices of crusty bread
  • 2 generous spoonfuls of pesto
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • mozzarella or parmesan cheese
  1. Make pesto using recipe above.
  2. Wash and dice tomato.  Mix pesto and tomato together in a small bowl.
  3. Slice crusty bread and place on a cookie sheet.
  4. Add a spoonful of pesto and tomato to each slice of bread.
  5. Top with grated mozzarella or parmesan cheese and broil in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are slightly brown.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Put up Total:

  • 15 regular packs
  • 3 party packs
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9 Comments leave one →
  1. stormy permalink
    August 12, 2011 1:13 pm

    Basil in the freezer is a glorious thing indeed. We add lemon juice to keep the leaves bright green & leave out the garlic (to keep the freezer from developing garlic stank in the vanilla ice cream). We also freeze Thai, lemon & Lime basil chopped & put in ice cube trays – empty into freezer bags when frozen. Great for drink, soups, marinades… happy dance inducing!

  2. keapdx permalink
    August 15, 2011 2:06 pm

    Most basil pesto recipes I’ve seen include parmesan or pecorino or some other grated hard cheese?

    • August 15, 2011 4:02 pm

      We don’t freeze the parmesan cheese in the pesto packets…we added it when we thaw the pesto and serve.

  3. Stephanie permalink
    August 16, 2011 1:45 pm

    Is there a reason for not freezing the parmesan? I only just ran into this post (after making a pesto from another recipe w/parm) and I froze in ice cube trays. Hoping I didn’t just waste an entire harvest of basil! 😦

    • August 16, 2011 5:12 pm

      It’s fine to freeze…don’t worry. :>)
      We just like adding it fresh at the time because we can then use any kind of cheese depending upon how we intend to use the pesto.

  4. August 19, 2011 7:19 pm

    I usually blanch my herbs before turning them into pesto. It makes for a brighter green paste, even after a year-long stay in the freezerr.

  5. Stella Barbone permalink
    August 24, 2011 9:22 pm

    In southern Italy pesto is made with pistachios instead of pine nuts. It’s just as tasty and in California, at least, shelled pistachios cost about a quarter the price of pine nuts.

    • August 25, 2011 8:15 am

      Great information! I love pistachios and they certainly are less expensive…I am definitely going to give this a try. Thanks!

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