Well….fall is here. I have skirted my way around my shortened gardening season by cover my plants through the first frost and will likely do so when the temps dip down tomorrow night, but in North Dakota, I can’t hold it off forever! I am slowly transitioning into full preservation mode. I have been roasting tomatoes, shredding and cubing squash and zucchini and now I am on to freezing my herbs. A few of them will make their way to my dehydrator, but for the most part, I have great luck freezing them in water or oil so that they can keep that fresh taste in recipes this winter.
One my my favorite way to enjoy basil is in pesto and I love it even more in the winter over warm pasta and plenty of parmesan cheese! It’s also a great way to take your soups to the next level my adding a teaspoon or so into your bowl. (even if it’s canned soup!)
While there are certainly occasions that I could serve enough people to not have leftovers of this large batch of pesto to freeze, it works great to freeze in quart size freezer bags, muffin tins, or even ice cube trays. If you freeze it in quart-sized bags, because of the oil content, if you set it out of the freezer for a short while, it will because pliable and allow you to break off what you need. If you don’t want to hassle with that, freeze it in muffin tins and then you will know exactly how much you are grabbing at a time.
Large Batch Basil Pesto
15-20 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
16 cups packed basil leaves
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups toasted pine nuts (roast in the oven until light golden brown and cool)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 cups olive oil
Place garlic, basil, cheese, pine nuts, red pepper, salt, and black pepper into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse 10-15 times until well chopped and everything is even in size, brushing down the sides of the food processor every couple pulses. With the processor running on high, slowly pour in the olive oil. Turn off the processor and scrape the side to make sure everything is even in texture. Pulse again a few more times if desired. Store in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze in quart bags, muffin tins, or ice cube trays to use later!