Monday, 30 September 2013

Homemade Basil Pesto

Around here you can't help but notice all the enormous green bunches of basil in the markets! At this time of year in Ontario basil is plentiful and inexpensive. What better way to use all those fragrant leaves than to make a basil pesto? 

It's easy to do and you won't have to spend much money to make a freezer full! 

Here's our super-duper, so-easy-you-won't-believe-how-little-effort-this-requires  recipe:


3      cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/3    cup pine nuts
2/3    cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3    cup olive oil
1/3    cup canola oil
4      cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2    teaspoon salt
1/2    teaspoon black pepper 


1. Grate parmesan, pick and wash basil leaves, lightly toast pine nuts in a pan over medium heat. 

2. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Cover and blend until nearly smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides if necessary. 

3. Pour or ladle pesto into clean half-pint (250 mL) jars. Stir the pesto in each jar to remove air bubbles. Seal with plastic freezer lids for mason jars. Label and store in the freezer! 


All done! Couldn't be much easier!

A few tips: 

We did our pesto in the blender, and this method results in a more 'blended' (for lack of a better word) look. If we had used a food processor, the result would be a more traditional looking pesto with little bits of green leaf. We may do a second batch in the food processor and if we do, I'll post some photos.

Secondly, because these are going in the freezer, the jars don't necessarily have to be filled all the way. I filled mine with the amount that we typically use for one meal. (A little less than 1 cup /  250 mL). 

Finally, make sure to give the pesto a good stir once it is is the jars. This will nix any air bubbles. Air bubbles are not a health concern when freezing (as they are when canning), but the issue here is that the pesto oxidizes and turns a dull greenish brown wherever it meets with air. (Oxidized pesto is perfectly fine to eat).  To keep your pesto bright green, stir it, put a lid on it and get it in the freezer! 

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