I planted too much basil. gasp. Too much basil? It is true. I have trees of basil loaded with huge green leaves. And I will be bringing pesto something to every single potluck for the next seven years.

I picked and picked forever and I haven’t even tapped into the purple forest in the northwest corner of my plot. I would love ideas for other food preservation with basil.

The greatest trick in the universe about pesto: freeze it in ice cube trays. Many know this but I didn’t until last year and it changed my life. I no longer have to waste plastic bags that I felt obligated to fill full to minimize the waste and am then left with an entire baggie full of thawed pesto when all I wanted was enough for a fried egg sandwich. No! The ice cube trays create perfect little portions of the bright sauce.

I don’t measure things when I cook…I just check out the ingredients and go for it. This works like a charm with pesto. I use:
Good parmesan cheese (Kraft will not do. Do people use that stuff? blech.)
Pine nuts
More garlic than you think you can handle and a spousal unit who likes to chop garlic
Good olive oil (totally worth in the investment)

The trick is to start small: Add about 1/2 cup of olive oil and a hand full of basil and pine nuts to the food processor. Once that is good and smooth, add the rest of the stuff a little at a time. If all the ingredients are thrown in at once, one is left in grid lock.

Once the pesto is frozen, the darling little cubes pop right out and into the same plastic bag you have used for the last few years.

5 Responses to pesto

  1. cash's mom says:

    hi there. i’m friends with jen (beck) furber and i read your blog. it’s great. anyway, here’s my one and only tip: pulse fresh basil leaves in a food processor with a bit of olive oil (will prevent it from turning brown) and put in a zipper bag. squeeze out all the air and freeze flat! that way when you need basil you just snap off a piece and you’re on your way!

  2. Wendy says:

    I’ve heard of freezing herbs similar to cash’s mom, but instead of olive oil, use water. I guess it depends what you plan to use them for.

  3. whitelj24 says:

    howdy cash’s mom and wendy, i need more info on this. or perhaps we could make nici do an experiement for us all. ha. i too am “suffering” from too much basil…it is taking over my garden and i’m ALMOST over pesto. i’ve been eating it with just about everything for the past month and half.

  4. Katie says:

    That is a fabulous idea. Especially the anti-Kraft sawdust comment. Foodies unite!

  5. I love your freezing trick! I will have to try it soon :)

    We hope all is going well with you and Andy and The Bug!!!