Pesto. There are so many different ways to enjoy it. Personally, parsley pesto is my favorite, with basil a close second. I especially love to freeze pesto and pull it out in the months long after the herbs in my garden are done for the season. It can be used in sauces, soups and as a topping for pizza.

how to make pesto

The color isn’t quite the vibrant green you’re used to with freshly made pesto, it turns a bit darker, but the flavor is just as delicious. This recipe made 2 ice trays worth of pesto for freezing.

how to make pesto

how to make pesto

Basil Pesto

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

8 cups lightly packed, fresh basil leaves

1 cup pine nuts or walnuts

2 garlic cloves

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and pepper

In a food processor place basil leaves, garlic cloves and nuts; season with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With food processor running stream in olive oil and continue processing until smooth. Use immediately, or freeze.

To freeze place spoonfuls of pesto in ice cube tray. Pop out individual pesto cubes for thawing and use as needed.

What are your favorite ways to save the flavors of the growing seasons? Canning? Freezing? I’d love to hear…


12 Responses to How to Make and Freeze Basil Pesto

  1. Lori L says:

    Exactly the way I do it, except I add some parmesan cheese (but I think you don’t eat cheese, right?). What is also good is replacing the pine nuts with almonds.

  2. Alison says:

    Lori–I haven’t tried almonds before, but always have them around. Great idea! I usually add the parm after the pesto is thawed. We still eat some cheese, just have cut back.

  3. Anya says:

    I freeze pesto at least 3 times during a growing season, and usually do it multiple ways. I often add sundried tomatoes or artichoke hearts to the mix, which make it heartier.

    Other favorite preserving are pickled hot peppers (either jalapenos or hungarian hot peppers) – boil sliced peppers for a minute or two in a mixture of spices and apple cider vinegar then strain and put in jars. Then I fill the jars with seasoned olive oil (usually peppercorns, garlic, and coriander or cumin) and freeze. The peppers are amazing on quesadillas and pizzas!

    • Alison says:

      Wow Anya, that all sounds wonderful! I think I need to try adding artichokes to the pesto. Love them. We have tons of jalepenos and banana peppers too. I will have to try your suggestions. Thank you!

  4. Margaret says:

    Thank you so much for the great recipe! I love the pictures.
    I adapted your recipe a bit and linked back to you in my blog.
    Thank you again for the great blog!!

    Two in the Nest

  5. Lynette says:

    When you put the pesto in ice trays, do you cover the tray with foil? saran wrap? I have never frozen pesto of any kind so I don’t want to mess it up….thanks!

  6. Lynette says:

    For the parsley pesto, do you just follows the recipe and use the parsley instead of the basil?

  7. Barbee says:

    I am wondering the same thing as Lynette: When you put the pesto in ice trays, do you cover the tray with foil? saran wrap? Also, I’m wondering if the basil can be used if it is blooming. Mine is already blooming and I wonder if it is too old to make pesto. I’ve never eaten pesto, so I wouldn’t know if it tasted “wrong”. Sounds so good, though, so I want to try it.

  8. Toni says:

    You can wrap the ice trays in Saran Wrap, then pop them out when frozen &’store in zip lock.

  9. Sue says:

    I’m an old ‘seasoned’ (no pun intended) cook. I’ve been making basil pesto for years. I make and freeze my pesto with the parmesan cheese in it, and have never had a problem. I’ll even just take a mound of the frozen pesto and drop it into my homemade spaghetti sauce. Here’s what I do, ’cause I don’t use ice cube trays. I take a cookie sheet, line it with foil, place approx. 2-3 tblsp of the pesto and place that in mounds onto the cookie sheet, place that into my freezer and when frozen, put the mounds into a freezer zip lock bag. Works beautifully for me. I’ve just found that the compartments in the ice cube trays don’t hold enough. I no longer use pine nuts, ’cause they’re way too expensive. I use primarily walnuts, but did use cashews once, when I found myself out of walnuts, both with excellent results. To Barbee, you don’t need to cover the pesto regardless of which way you freeze it. Just don’t forget about it, and put the pesto in a freezer bag as soon as it’s frozen, usually 2-3 hours. Hope this helps.

  10. A says:

    After freezing pesto in ice tray, remove frozen squares and package in freezer plastic bags!

  11. An says:

    After pesto in ice trays is frozen, remove cubes and store in freezer bags. Use as needed.

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