Basil called by the ancient Greeks the “royal herb”, is unfortunately meant to live its life cycle within one year. Now that the warm summer months are over, and the first part of fall heralds is here, its time to say goodbye to my sweet basil pots.
Well, I cannot do anything to preserve the divine AROMA my porch has, every time I am clipping fresh basil leaves. But I do have a way to preserve the TASTE of it ALL YEAR LONG. By making and storing in our freezer the famous Pesto alla Genovese.
Have your pesto ready in your refrigerator, and then you only need 10 minutes to prepare a delicious homemade Mediterranean meal for the whole family. Mix pesto with wholegrain pasta or brown rice, add some grated Parmesan or whatever cheese your children like and that’s it. Or spread pesto on a sandwich, add cheese and smoked turkey and there you are. A perfect school snack: Delicious and Nutritious. Don’t forget, that basil is full of antioxidants and rich in vitamins A and C.
Hands on: 15 minutes
Portion(s): 3 jars (120 gr. each)
150 gr. fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
60 gr. pine nuts
60 gr. cashews
270 ml (9 fl.oz) extra virgin olive oil
salt (a generous pinch)
How to do it
In a food processor, add all of the ingredients and beat until the mixture resembles a thick pulp.
Season with salt to taste.
Sterilize your jars. Use your dishwasher (high temperature program 70oC), or put some water in a large pot, place the jars and/or the lids in, and let them boil for 5 minutes. Remember that they have to be dry before you use them.
Add the pesto sauce in the jars, seal and freeze.
When I collect my basil leaves, I do not wash them immediately. I let them rest for 10 minutes on my kitchen table. I found out, that if there is a warm or some other insects upon, due to the new environment they just walk away.
After I wash the basil leaves, I use my salad spinner to remove the extra water. Or you can use a kitchen towel.
If you want to keep your pesto greener - before adding the ingredients - put some ice in the food processor and mix to cool your machine.
I am sure you mentioned, that our ingredients do not include grated Parmesan cheese. If you freeze your pesto with Parmesan cheese inside, its taste will change. You can add it right before using your pesto. Not to mention that not adding Parmesan, makes your pesto last longer. Frozen pesto can last up to 6 months.
To defrost, leave your jar one night at your refrigerator. Unopened pesto (without parmesan) can last in your refrigerator for 3 weeks.
Once opened, and every time you use some of your pesto sauce, drizzle a little olive oil over the top, seal the jar and place it again into your refrigerator, or back to your freezer. No Parmesan - no problem.
Coming up: My kids favorite basil pesto dish. Pasta with Pesto alla Genovese and Greek yogurt. Keep in touch!