I have often shared how fond I am of freezing things for future use. Whether it is plain ole’ leftovers, large batches of soup, meals for future use, bountiful summer vegetables or smaller things like bits of lemon rind, chipotles from the can or breadcrumbs, we use our freezer a lot.
Now we have a new use for our freezer: pesto.
Fresh basil (the main ingredient in pesto) is plentiful in the summer but downright expensive in the off season. Basil, like most herbs, actually proliferates and prospers the more you use it, so as we snip and clip throughout the summer, our basil plant grows beyond what we can consume right now. But using basil for making fresh pesto is a tasty way to make sure your summer bounty does not go to waste.
Here’s the best part: making pesto is super easy if you use a food processor and can be made at a fraction of the cost of jarred pesto. A store-bought jar of pesto can easily cost 4-5 times the cost of making a batch of fresh pesto at home.
Here’s my tip for today: Pesto, and really any non-dairy sauce, can be easily frozen for future use. Simply whip up a batch of pesto, and since often the amount needed for a recipe is a mere tablespoon or two, use an ice cube tray or cookie sheet (think small scoops of pesto, lined up like cookies on the tray, as long as your pesto isn’t too runny—if it is runny, stick with the ice cube tray) and pop it into the freezer.
Once fully frozen you can remove your pesto cubes or pesto mounds and store them all winter long in a freezer bag.
Side note: yes, you can dry basil too and have “fresh” dried basil for your spice rack, simply rinse and pat dry, and hang to air dry. Once fully dry, you can crumble for use in recipes.
Coming tomorrow: the Sweet Pea Family’s pesto recipe.