Huge Basil Harvest? Make Pesto
Updated: Aug 28, 2022
Nothing says summer in the garden quite like the fragrance and flavor of fresh basil. Of course, the great taste of basil doesn't have to be limited to just the summer months. There are plenty of great ways to preserve basil. Pesto is one of my favorite ways to use basil and preserve it for use throughout the year.
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How to Make Pesto With Fresh Basil
One batch of this recipe makes about a half-pint of pesto, so you'll want to make several batches if you've got a lot of basil to preserve.
The garden basket above is filled with Genovese Basil and Red Freddy basil from my garden. This quantity of basils produced 5 quarter pints and two half pints of pesto.
Basil Pesto Ingredients
In order to make fresh basil, you'll need just a few basic ingredients and a food processor.
Approximately 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (loosely packed in a measuring cup)
1/3 cup of pine nuts, walnuts (or any type of nut you want to use)
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper (to taste; I use around a teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Pesto Preparation Instructions
This is very simple to make, as it simply requires putting all of the ingredients into the food processor, then pulsing until well combined.
Put the chopping blade in the food processor.
Put basil into food processor, spreading it out around the blade.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Pulse until everything is well combined.
Some recipes call for adding ingredients in a specific order and puling between each one, but that is not necessary. (I have tried that way; it does not taste any different.)
Preparation Tip for Multiple Batches
Be careful not to overload your food processor if you're making several batches. I run one batch through my Ninja Professional XL food processor, then add the ingredients for a second batch and process it. At that point, I transfer the mixture to a serving container (or the containers it will be frozen in) and start over processing another batch, repeating until I've processed all I plan to do that day.
How to Store Homemade Pesto
If you plan to eat all the pesto you make within a week, just store it in the fridge in an airtight container. I use Pyrex Simply Store containers.
If you want to preserve it for future use, you'll need to freeze it. You can freeze it in several ways:
Portion it into freezer bags
Portion it into small glass containers with airtight lids
Portion it into small jars (that don't have shoulders) such as 1/4-pint canning jars
Portion into mini muffin pans to freeze, then remove and store in a freezer bag