Basil is one of our favorite herbs for cooking, especially with tomatoes. But, it has a nasty habit of bolting up so fast – first there’s none and then an over-abundance. Thankfully, we harvested all of this year’s crop before the current heat wave hit; if not, it would have withered in this 90° + heat.
Basil doesn’t freeze well and has a tendency to become brown and unsightly, so I decided to make pesto. It’s one of the easiest ways to extend the basil harvest. A little bit of pesto goes a long way, so not much is needed to flavor a dish. It can be frozen by tablespoonfuls or in ice cube trays or tiny containers.
Pesto is easy to make using a food processor and will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months or frozen up to a year. , Replace the top coating of olive oil after each use, when storing or freezing in containers.
Note: pine nuts are very costly (at least in these parts). If not available, substitute walnuts.
Depending on how much basil you have, this recipe can be doubled, tripled or made more than once.
- 1/2 C plus 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 C chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 C pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2/3 C grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- Combine 1/3 C olive oil with the remaining ingredients in a food processor; process to make a thick paste.
- Transfer the pesto to a container and smooth out the top.
- Cover with a thin coating of about 1 TBSP of olive oil. Refrigerate or freeze in ice cube trays or by tablespoons.
Note: These pesto balls were formed on parchment paper using a melon baller. They were then placed in the freezer. After the basil balls froze, they were wrapped individually and all the wrapped balls were placed in a freezer bag.