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Old 01-09-2007, 01:50 PM   #1
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Freezing Pesto

I was at Trader Joe's this morning and they brought in a shipment of the most gorgeous and freshest basil ever so I bought a huge bunch. I want to make pesto to put on pasta but I live alone I can't eat a lot of pasta at one time and my kids don't like it. (What do they know?) I have never made this much and am wondering if it can be frozen. Will the basil turn black or will the olive oil keep it from coloring in the freezer??? Has anyone actually done this and if so I need your advice. How long will it keep in the freezer?

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Old 01-09-2007, 02:08 PM   #2
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Yes, you can freeze your pesto. In fact, it is recommended that you put the pesto into the compartments of ice cube trays, freeze it, then pop them out and put into ziplock bags for storage in your freezer.

For more information and tips, perform a Google search for frozen pesto
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:18 PM   #3
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As Caine suggested, freeze in ice cube trays and then transfer to ziplog bags. Leave out the Parmesan cheese though as it doesn't freeze well. Once it's thawed, add the cheese before serving. The layer of olive oil prevents it from freezer burn. The pesto will turn sllightly blackish on top.
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:36 PM   #4
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As everyone has said yes, it can be frozen without the cheese. One thing I do to keep it bright green, never heat it..I just let it defrost, come to room temp and add it and the cheese to piping hot pasta.. and for an added touch, if you like tomatoes, chop some up put in seperate bowl and spoon on your dressed pasta at the table...YUM


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Old 01-09-2007, 02:38 PM   #5
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Such a strange time for beautiful basil - I wonder where T.J's gets the stuff. I freeze it in the summer when I have too much in my garden.
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Old 01-09-2007, 03:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara
Such a strange time for beautiful basil - I wonder where T.J's gets the stuff. I freeze it in the summer when I have too much in my garden.
Barbara,
TJ's in the freezer section has a cute little box partitioned into cubes filled either with chopped basil,cilantro,parsley or garlic. I keep them on hand for when I'm in a hurry or I want to add any of them to soups or stews. The garlic is wonderful in most things, no peeling or crushing just drop them in or on they defrost quickly.

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Old 01-09-2007, 05:19 PM   #7
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Here is a list of things I love to do with Basil whenever I get an 'overload' most freeze, one at least does not, but uses up some of the surplus. What a nice predicament to be in!


BASIL - HARVESTING/KEEPING

BASIL PUREE: Process 4 c. loosely packed basil leaves & 1 cup EVO (or 8-oz. can tomato sauce) in a food processor till basil is finely chopped.
Spoon mixture into ice-cube trays (or whatever), & freeze.
Store frozen puree in freezer bags up to 6 mos.

Use anywhere you need a burst of fresh basil flavor: in soups, sauces, or salad dressings.
Thaw & add to marinades, or drizzle over grilled meats & vegies.

BASIL PESTO: Process -
4 c. loosely packed basil leaves
6 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup each: shredded Parm, toasted pine nuts, & EVO
in a processor till smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
Spoon mix into trays & freeze.

Store mix. in freezer bags up to 6 mos. Makes 2 cups.
Pesto is great to have on hand for last minute hors d' oeuvres.
It can stand alone as a dip & also works as a spread for pizzas & sandwiches.

BASIL-GARLIC BUTTER:
Process -
1 cup softened butter
2 garlic cloves till smooth.
Add:
1/2 cup firmly packed basil leaves, & pulse 3-4 times or till basil is finely chopped.
Store in Refrig up to 1 week, or freeze up to 4 mos. Makes 1 cup.
If desired, shape butter into a log; wrap, chill then freeze in log or cut in circles.


Serve w/hot crusty French bread or baked potatoes.
Toss w/hot, cooked pasta and Parm cheese or steamed veggies.

Try it on a grilled cheese w/mozz, sliced tomatoes, & crumbled bacon.

PESTO-GOAT CHEESE SPREAD:
Process -
11-oz. log goat cheese
8-oz. pkg. softened cream cheese
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
2 T. balsamic vinegar in food processor till smooth.


Chill 2 hrs. before serving. Makes 3 cups.

Store in frig up to 1 week, or freeze up to 4 mos.
Serve w/toasted pita chips or sliced baguettes.

Shape cheese mix. into logs, & wrap, slice chilled logs into 1/2" rounds. Dip rounds in lightly beaten egg; dredge in Italian breadcrumbs. Pan-fry over med-high heat in a little butter 1 min. or each side or till golden, & serve warm over a crisp, gr. salad.`

LEMON-BASIL MAYO:
Process -
2 c. mayo
1 garlic clove - in processor till smooth. Add -
1/2 c. firmly packed basil leaves
1 T. grated lemon rind - pulse 3-4 times or till basil is finely chopped.
Store IN rig up to 1 weeks. Makes 2 cups. DO NOT FREEZE.

Even tho this won't freeze, it's unbelievably delicious w/a bowl of grape tomatoes or on a turkey sandwich.
Use it in place of plain mayo in deviled eggs or main dish salads; it's also great w/chicken, shrimp, or tuna.
Try it instead of tartar sauce the next time on favorite fish.

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Old 01-09-2007, 05:57 PM   #8
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i keep mine frozen in a plastic jar. it's easy to get the amount i want to use with a heavy-duty fork.
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:58 PM   #9
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I froze a bunch of pesto this past summer in roughly 3/4 C portions - drizzled a little olive oil over the top first. Let it thaw in the refrigerator and it is like you just made it!
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Old 01-09-2007, 06:27 PM   #10
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Wow thanks to all of you for your expert advice and some good ideas along with it. Thanks especially to CJS for some great recipes. I won't be making pesto with ALL of the basil, some of those recipes look great. And I didn't remember that you shouldn't freeze parmesan cheese. Thanks again.
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