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There is nothing like fresh basil to brighten up a recipe. This time of the year, it is easy to find basil, whether it is growing in a pot in the kitchen or yard or is in bunches at the farmer’s market. But in about a month or so, the basil will be gone. All you will be able to find will be some fairly unappealing basil that has traveled a huge distance to reach you in the grocery store. Yuk – it’s almost worth waiting until next year.
Preserve the basil season all year long by blending bunches of fresh, locally grown basil leaves with some olive oil, and putting it in the freezer. Many people like to put pesto or other leftover sauces into ice cube trays, freeze them, and then store them in freezer containers. However, my freezer doesn’t seem well suited to stacking unstable piles of freezer boxes, and they usually come tumbling down when the door opens! Instead, I pour leftovers or home-made sauces (fresh marinara sauce, pesto, blended basil, lemon juice, coconut milk, etc…) into zip-top bags and freeze them flat. That way, I can have lots of thin frozen bags that hardly take up any room and stack neatly. When I need some of the frozen item, I just break off what I need and put the rest back in the freezer.
If you would prefer to turn your basil into pesto and freeze it that way, try this recipe:
Add the following ingredients into your cuisinart, and blend until smooth:
3 cloves garlic
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts (pignolia)
1 dash salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
Come winter time, you will be glad you did!