How to freeze pesto without using plastic

Sharon Hanna says to make up your pesto now, before it turns black, and offers a simple method for freezing it.

Credit: Sharon Hanna

Here’s my friend Cherryl, of Gabriola Island beets fame, buried in basil.

It has been a great year for it, that’s for sure. Cherryl often uses walnuts in her pesto… and sometimes parsley. But not this time with all that basil!

Last week, I wanted to make pesto but couldn’t work out how to freeze it without using plastic… so came up with this idea, using an old ‘tart’ pan – quite shallow little muffin-type cups. I greased the cups first very lightly with unsalted butter, then filled with pesto, covered loosely with wax paper, and placed the whole works into the freezer until frozen solid.

Sharon Hanna's solution to freeze pesto without plastic

Having never done this, it was going to be interesting to see if the pesto would come out easily or not. Putting just a bit of warm water on the underside, then using a knife – each popped out easily. They can now be stored in a glass jar in the freezer until needed.

This pesto was made the “ordinary” way – that is to say with pine nuts, lots of basil, olive oil, garlic and Parmigiano reggiano. I was tempted to skimp and use cheaper cheese but a few websites urged me to use the “real thing,” and it’s true.

One thing I did which was not mentioned in any recipes for pesto was adding some lemon juice to the food processor. This keeps the basil leaves from darkening! It’s still pretty bright green, in fact.

Be sure not to wait too long to make your pesto. When the weather cools and rain starts to fall, the leaves turn black and icky. “Just do it” very soon.