Every Summer I grow a huge basil plant in my garden. I love using fresh basil in sauces and salads all summer long. Around mid-October, I start watching the weather reports closely so I can time my basil harvest just right. Basil does not do well in temperatures under 40 degrees. Whenever that cool-down happens, I drop what I am doing and pull in the basil and make pesto and freeze it to use all winter long. I make these frozen pesto pucks into 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 puck 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.