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.

Growing Basil Indoors

(Imagine a basil plant 10 times this size)

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 to 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 to enjoy later.

SEE MORE: How to Chiffonade Basil

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 the pesto in a plastic Ziploc-type bag, and snip the corner to squeeze the pesto into the trays.
  3. Freeze the trays until the pesto is solid.
  4. Pop the pesto cubes out of the trays (and say a quiet thank-you for the invention of refrigerator ice makers…doesn’t this bring back memories?)
  5. Place the frozen-solid pesto cubes in a large freezer bag and put back in the freezer to keep, up to 1 year.
See Also:  4 Healthy Benefits of Eating Garden-Fresh Produce

Now you can enjoy small portions of pesto year-round – to spread on sandwiches, for quick party appetizers or as a variation on basil-mashed potatoes! But one recipe you must try is this: Eggplant, Mozzarella and Parmesan Gratins. Yum!

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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