One of the best things about my summer garden is fresh basil for sauces and other dishes. Buying fresh basil from the store is never the same–it’s wilted, spotted and expensive. If you have ever grown basil, you understand how HUGE the plants can get. There’s no way one family can use so many basil leaves before the plant goes to seed or the growing season ends. Because I can’t stand to see my beloved basil go to waste, I make it into pesto and freeze it to use all winter long. I make Pesto Chicken Pizza with it or mix it into Pasta and it tastes like I made it that day. It sure is wonderful to enjoy the taste of Summer in the dead of winter. Here’s how I do it:
Freezer Pesto Sauce
- 4 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 Cups Olive Oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 1/4 Cup Parmesan fresh grated
- Harvest Pesto leaves and brush or dust off any dirt.
- Pack 4 Cups of basil leaves in the bottom of a food processor. Add 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/2 Cup of Pine nuts and pulse a few times until chopped.
- Add 3/4 Cup Olive Oil and process until smooth. Reserve 1/8 Cup Oil for step 5. Continue adding remaining Olive Oil until desired consistency is reached. Season with Salt and Pepper.
- Transfer to a small mixing bowl and mix in the Parmesan cheese. Spoon pesto sauce into a 6-Cup muffin tin. Line the cups with silicone liners for really easy removal after freezing.
- Pour 1 additional teaspoon olive oil over each cup of sauce to seal in the flavor as the pesto freezes. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and freeze the sauce over night.
- Pop the frozen pesto out of the muffin tins using a butter knife, or peel it out of the silicone liner (if you used them.) Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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