Pesto Freezing Method





Introduction: Pesto Freezing Method

Here is a quick one on how I like to freeze pesto. The short version is that I put the fresh pesto in a decent Ziploc back, cut a corner of the bag (1/2" size hole) and squeeze like icing into ice cube trays. Freeze the trays and then transfer into freezer bags. I freeze mine with the cheese in there. when we want pesto in the middle to winter, we just pop out a couple of cubes and toss in the dish. Much easier than carving out of a large frozen block... I also do a few tricks to keep it from oxidizing while freezing etc.

I’ve also included my favorite recipe and a few gratuitous close-ups of the green goop. There is a good instructable on actually making there stuff here.

Any comments or actual hard facts on why not freeze the pureed cheese with the pesto? I always see advice on not doing that but have had bad experience with it… I suppose it may taste slightly fresher if done when thawed but I cant tell the dif…

Step 1: Make Pesto and Put in Ziplock Type Bag

Make lots of pesto at once.

I like the recipe below - simple and good. But I am going to try some of the other ingrediants that this person put up here.

The pesto recipe comes from the Produce Station in Ann Arbor. Oh how we miss Ann Arbor...

Step 2: Get Out Ice Cube Trays and Cut Bag

Remove ice. Place in your drink or give to the dog.

Line up your ice trays.

Cut a corner of the bag (not the corner where the zipper is...) with a pair of scissors - i think a 1/2 inch size hole is good. Be careful that is does not start squirting out as soon as you cut the bag...

Step 3: Squeeze It. Its Fun.

Squeeze the pesto into each cube section. Do not overfill. Better to do more batches than overfill it and have a mess on your hands.

After the trays are full, level off the pesto, cover with saran wrap and press saran wrap into the pesto. This reduces oxidation (dark green color).

Step 4: Freeze and Bag.

Freeze in the tray for a few hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag for long term storage.

Its best to get as much air out of the bag as possible. Vacuum sealing would be ideal.

Anyone have a DIY for a vacuum bagging system?

Now, when you need pesto for one, two or five, you have the chunks ready to go. I buy into the conspiracy theories that microwaving kills the good stuff in veggies so I just let them thaw slowly if I cant just throw it in with the hot food. They thaw pretty quickly anyway because of the olive oil....



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    31 Discussions

    Mmm...great 'ible!
    For those asking "why freeze?" -- not everyone has the time nor the available ingredients to make fresh pesto.
    Freezing is not, I repeat...NOT a sin! (If so, then I'm a definite sinner...weeee!)
    The cubes trick is great but using snack size or sandwich size bags is good too.
    My husband and I freeze many things (we're so baaaaad!) and using bags that freeze flat and are stackable is the best way for us.
    Either way -- freeze on!!!

    You cant just put everything in the food processor at once. You gotta SLOWLY oh so slowly drizzle the olive oil in as the ingredients are being pureed.

    1 reply

    I make my pesto in the blender. The first time, I drizzled the olive oil and it was a pain. The second time, I dumped everything in and just let it go...that worked WAY better.

    the reason I buy basil (and many other healthy foods) is because I live in the city. I cannot grow anything at home.

    I think your pesto is to thick, I've always seen it very thin and watery, did you buy the basil from a store? The way my mom makes it always produces a watery slurry, she uses fresh basil from our garden.

    When I want to vacuum seal a plastic bag, I just seal it closed most of the way then insert a drinking straw into the bag (go in about half way) then I suck all the air out and seal the bag quickly closed that last little bit. Sometimes you may have to do this a couple of times to get all the air out, but this really works!

    try using cilantro instead of basil. Also pistachios in lieu of pine nuts make for a very nice pesto. Not that pine nuts aren't great- they are.

    1 reply

    Aaahhhhh! I understand you cannot get  basilico from Prà or Coronata, but it's not pesto without basilico.. You can try nuts instead  pine nuts, but please not pistachios.

    I've used pine nuts for years, but after the scare about tainted cat food from China, I refuse to eat ANY food grown or processed in China. Nearly all pine nuts come from China. I use walnuts and can scarcely tell the difference.. I usually make a year's worth of pesto each summer, frozen it in ice cube trays I've never had a problem with freezing the olive oil or the cheese. Freshly made pesto is the best, but how are you going to keep your pesta plants fresh until next winter? Susan

    I freeze a favorite is to freeze any leftover coffee in ice cube trays. I use it in my iced coffee, desserts (tiramisu), bbq sauce (never store bought), chili, chocolate cakes, etc...........I have frozen pesto before....usually at the end of the season I make my winter supply...I use minimal EVOO for freezing, the pine nuts are fine...I use small sandwich size bags, lay flat on a cookie sheet, then they stack. I can thaw enough for 2 or a crowd....just add the additional EVOO when your ready.


    11 years ago

    I also use the ice cube tray method for freezing homemade chicken and seafood stocks. It allows me to defrost a small portion, without having to defrost an entire container of stock.

    2 replies

    Also useful frozen into cubes: heavy cream. clarified butter.

    ... and orange juice. No ice cubes are gonna soil my perfectly mixed glass of orange juice!

    Cool variation - mint, basil, sage or Rosemary (or all together) with Fresh squeezed Lemon Juice instead of olive oil - make cool cubes of instant fresh lemonade - just ad water.

    thanks for this idea...I have beautiful basil and was wondering what to do with it besides drying..gonna try the frozen pesto... thanks :-)

    C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\diane's pic\diane\2007_06_15\IMG_6322.JPG

    It's a beautiful idea, but isn't frezzing olive oil just about the worst thing one can do. I am living in Italy right now, and every Italian I ask flinches at the idea of eating oil that's been frozen. I like the basil idea better,as you can just add the oil and pine nuts. Boun Appitito!

    3 replies

    what's wrong with freezing olive oil?

    According to the California Olive Oil News: Nothing. "Chilling or freezing olive oil does no harm and the oil will return to its normal consistency when warmed."