Pesto is a great way to use up a lot of basil if your garden is bursting at the seams, or if you need to harvest it before a drop in temperature. The basil pesto recipe we posted last week is a great one to try, especially if you’re looking for a less expensive pesto that still has wonderful flavor (we used pecans instead of pine nuts!).
But what if you make a big batch of pesto and you can’t finish it before it starts to go bad? Freeze it! Freezing pesto is simple, but we have a few tips to keep it fresh and green. Pesto oxidizes (darkens when exposed to air), so keep reading to find out how to keep it looking bright and green!
Start out with clean ice cube trays and a cookie scoop. My scoop is 1 tablespoon, and since two would have overfilled the tray, I placed one scoop in each pocket. You will need just a little space at the top, so don’t fill it completely full.
Once you have all of your pesto scooped into the trays, gently tap them on the counter to remove any air bubbles and to settle the pesto into an even layer. Lightly drizzle a thin layer of olive oil over the top of each pesto cube. This will help seal out any air that could turn your pesto brown.
When you are finished drizzling the oil, cover the tray with a layer of plastic wrap and press it gently onto the pesto to remove the air. Once the air has been pressed out, just place it in the freezer!
I missed a spot on the plastic wrap…it probably pulled when I picked up the tray. Check yours before you set it in the freezer just to make sure it didn’t shift like mine! Because of the oil, it retained it’s green color as it froze, but I like to be double sure that my food will be perfect when I want to use it!
Once your pesto is frozen (I left mine overnight), remove the plastic wrap and run the bottom of the trays under cold water for a second or two to loosen the pesto, if necessary (be careful not to get water on the pesto).
Label a gallon size freezer bag, being sure to include the size of your pesto cubes.
Now just remove the cubes from the trays and toss them all in the bag!
They should be a lovely green color. Now you are ready to pull out exactly how much you need when you’re ready to eat it! Garden-fresh flavor any time. Doesn’t get much better!
Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before you put your bag of pesto in the freezer, and you’re done! Easy!