Since there are so many ways you can incorporate pesto in your meals, there should also be a way to preserve it. Store-bought pesto often only last for about 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge, whereas homemade pesto can spoil in just a week.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what pesto is made out of and how you can freeze it.
What’s Pesto Made Out Of?
You can whip up some pesto at home with only a handful of ingredients. Pesto typically includes basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. If you find pine nuts to be quite expensive, you can use walnuts or almonds instead. You can also add a handful of kale leaves, spinach, and even arugula to give it a stronger and richer flavor.
If you’ve run out of basil, feel free to add any green vegetables you can find in your pantry like broccoli and zucchini. You can also add avocado to make it extra creamy.
Can You Freeze Pesto?
If you prefer the taste of homemade pesto to store-bought, then you need to figure out ways to store it properly, so you don’t have to prepare it from scratch every time. Basil can’t survive in colder weather, which is why it’s best to buy it in the summer.
If you can’t go a whole season without pesto, you need to get your hands on a lot of basil leaves when they’re in season and make enough pesto to last all winter. You don’t have to consume it all in a week, because you can freeze it and enjoy it whenever you want.
How to Freeze Pesto
What You Need
- Ice cube trays
- Olive oil
- Plastic wrap
- Freezer bags
- Use a spoon to fill all the compartments in the ice cube tray with fresh homemade pesto.
- Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top of each compartment. This is done to make sure the pesto doesn’t turn dark.
- Wrap the whole ice cube tray with plastic wrap. Press it gently on each cube compartment to leave as little room for air as possible.
- Place the tray in the freezer overnight until the pesto has completely frozen.
- Remove the tray from the freezer, hold it under cold water for a couple of seconds until the pesto cubes pop out easily.
- Get a freezer bag and dump the pesto cubes inside. Store the bags in the freezer for as long as 6 months.
Tips and Tricks
Keeping Frozen Pesto Green
If you wish to keep your frozen pesto green, then here’s a trick you can use when you’re preparing it. Blanch the basil leaves before throwing them into your food processor. This will help them retain their beautiful green color.
Thawing Frozen Pesto
To use frozen pesto, you need to let it thaw before adding it to a dish. You can try putting it in the refrigerator for a while until it’s ready to use or pop it in the microwave on the defrost setting. Stop the microwave to stir it and repeat this until it has thawed completely and is ready to use.
Using Mason Jars
If you wish to freeze pesto to use it as a pizza sauce, then you should pour it into mason jars and store them in the freezer. Pouring it into ice cube trays won’t be ideal here because you’ll be using a larger quantity.
How Long Does It Last in the Freezer?
Frozen pesto cubes can last for six months in the freezer, whereas pesto in mason jars can be stored for 9 to 12 months. If it has been stored away for a long time and appears to have turned brown, then it’s no longer safe to consume. Give it a sniff to see if it smells fresh or not. If it has a rotten smell like old oil, discard it immediately.
To Sum Up
Now that you’ve learned how to freeze pesto, you can consume it throughout the year, regardless of the season. Don’t forget to label the freezer bags, so you’ll know when it’s gone bad and needs to be thrown out.
Frozen pesto cubes can be used in a salad dressing or served as a dipping sauce, whereas frozen pesto in mason jars is perfect for pasta sauce and can be used as a topping for homemade pizza as well.