Pesto can be a versatile sauce as it works with meat, pasta, as a veggie dip, with roasted veggies, eggs, and so on. But, when you make your own pesto, you may want to ensure you can enjoy it for longer, so you will take freezing it into consideration.
Whether or not pesto can be frozen and how well it does in the long run, we’ll discuss today.
Can You Freeze Pesto?
If you’re making your own pesto, you’ll want to make sure you can enjoy it for as long as possible, especially since you put a bit of work into making it. One of our readers loves pesto and they were wondering about whether or not freezing the sauce will work. Here’s the message we received:
My mother-in-law makes the most amazing pesto using basil and garlic that she grows in her garden. She only makes it at the end of the summer when all the ingredients are fresh, and the whole family gorges on pesto for a few weeks until it’s all gone.
When I asked her why she doesn’t preserve it or freeze it for the winter, she shakes her head and refuses to even consider it.
I have been wondering if we could possible freeze her pesto in small batches to eat throughout the winter. The whole family thinks I’m crazy, but I’ve got to know the answer! Can you freeze fresh pesto?
Good news! You can freeze fresh pesto. Traditionally, home preservers have not canned pesto often because the fresh herbs in oil are a breeding ground for bacteria if not sealed properly, and so most people don’t risk it.
Why Do People Avoid Freezing Pesto?
As for freezing, when olive oil is frozen it becomes cloudy and takes on a different consistency. This can be alarming to some, who think the oil is being spoilt. It’s not. Olive oil goes cloudy at low temperatures but will return to its normal color and consistency when brought back to room temperature. That means you’re good to go when it comes to freezing pesto!
One detail to note about freeing pesto is that the basil will change color and go dark, almost black. The bright green color of fresh pesto won’t hold up to being frozen.
This doesn’t affect the taste or the quality of the product, but aesthetically it changes. So don’t be alarmed when your pesto looks different coming out of the freezer than it did going in.
How to Freeze Pesto?
When you have your fresh pesto ready, you can go through the next few steps to get it to the freezer.
It’s always best to try to freeze it shortly after it has been prepared.
- Portion the pesto out into the serving size you prefer.
- Then, scoop the pesto into small freezer bags or hard freezer containers with lids.
- Some people freeze their pesto in ice cube containers and then pop the frozen cubes into freezer bags. All of these methods work well.
- Seal the freezer bag or container, then label and date it.
- Place in the coldest part of the freezer.
How to Keep Pesto Longer?
One of the things you can do to make sure that your pesto is going to keep for a long time in the freezer is to get a vacuum sealer. These appliances can save your food for a longer time by taking out all the air in the bag or container.
We have an extensive list of great vacuum sealers you can check out, but our favorite is the FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine which works with both bags and containers. In this way, you’ll save your pesto for a longer time, no matter how much of it you’re freezing.
How to Thaw Pesto?
Is it time to use your frozen pesto? Let’s get to work:
- To use frozen pesto, simply remove the desired amount from the freezer and add it directly to the recipe.
- You can also thaw it in a small saucepan over low heat.
- You may want to check the flavor and adjust as necessary before serving, but it should taste pretty much the same as it did before being frozen.
- To return the pesto to a bright green color, add some finely chopped fresh basil to the pesto before serving.
Making your very own fresh pesto is super easy to do as you’ll need just a few ingredients and a bit of free time.
- fresh basil leaves (2 cups)
- virgin olive oil (1/2 cup)
- pine nuts (1/3 cup)
- minced garlic cloves (3 cloves)
- salt, pepper – to taste
- grated parmesan
- Place the basil, pine nut, and garlic, a bit of pepper and salt, in a food processor and keep it running for a few seconds.
- Add the parmesan and give it a few extra pulses to mix it in as well.
- Add the olive oil and mix them in again.
- Adjust the salt and pepper to suit your taste.
Important: If you’re going to freeze the pesto sauce, DO NOT add the parmesan cheese. You can add it in when you’re thawing the sauce or go without it entirely.
Recipes with Pesto
Pesto makes so many dishes that have that extra bit of kick and flavor. Here are a few of them we just love:
One great recipe you can try out is the pesto pasta salad one. It features tofu, garlic, some honey, cherry tomatoes, kale, and more.
You should also take into consideration making your own delicious breakfast pizza with mushrooms, basil, and pesto. Yummy!
Another one you should try is the pesto sandwich with roasted vegetables. For obvious reasons, it’s going to be absolutely delicious!