basil plant

It seems like my basil plants have exploded overnight. Last week, there weren’t enough leaves to justify a cutting, but now I have enough basil to feed the whole neighborhood.

My favorite way to eat fresh basil is in a Caprese salad, layered with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. But of course, as luck would have it, I’m swimming in basil but my tomatoes aren’t quite ready yet. So how do I use up the basil I have, since pinching off more leaves will help encourage growth all summer?

So on to my second favorite basil recipe – pesto. Last night, I carefully picked the best basil leaves and processed them into a delicious pesto using a pretty straightforward recipe: basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and a little lemon juice. But by the time I was finished, I had more than 8 cups of pesto. Whoa! If you’ve had pesto before, you probably know that a little goes a long way. After considering eating only recipes that use pesto for the next week and a half, I decided to make some basic pasta and freeze the rest of the pesto to enjoy later.

SEE MORE: Herbs for Health: The Benefits Growing in Your Garden

bow-tie pasta with pesto

How to Freeze Pesto

Freezing pesto is pretty simple, really. There are a few different methods you can try, but the following is my favorite:

  1. Grab some ice cube trays.
  2. Put your pesto in a plastic Ziploc-type bag and snip the corner.
  3. Squeeze the pesto into the trays.
  4. Freeze the trays until the pesto is solid.
  5. When the pesto is completely frozen, pop the cubes out of the trays (and say a quiet thank-you for the invention of refrigerator ice makers… doesn’t this bring back memories?)
  6. Place the frozen-solid pesto cubes in a large freezer bag. Place the bag in the freezer to keep up to a year.
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Now you can enjoy small portions of pesto all year round – to spread on sandwiches, for quick party appetizers or as a variation on basil-mashed potatoes! Check out more of our favorite recipes with pesto below!

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Pesto Ranch Dressing

Pesto Cheese-Stuffed Shells

Have you frozen pesto before? What other types of pesto do you make with your herb garden bounty? I hear lemon balm pesto is delicious too.




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