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This recipe shares my tip about how to make pesto that stays bright green for several days. It’s an easy recipe to make with fresh summer basil, and it freezes well.
Pesto is one of my favorite things to make with basil from my summer farm share. But it isn’t always the most attractive thing to eat when it turns a dreary shade of dark greenish brown. I was so happy to learn how to make pesto that stays a pretty shade of green for several days.
In the image above, I made two batches of pesto with the exact same ingredients and proportions. The one on the left stayed bright green for days, while the one on the right was brown within an hour of making it.
The only difference between these two batches of pesto was the basil preparation. For the batch on the left, I blanched the basil leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds before mixing the ingredients together in my blender. That single difference yielded a dramatically different result. Not only is the blanched version prettier, but it also tastes creamier. When I recently served it over pasta, my husband couldn’t believe there wasn’t any cream in it.
This pesto freezes well. I place it in an ice cube tray in the freezer so I can save it in small portions. One ice cube-sized serving of this pesto is the perfect amount to spread on a sandwich.
How to Make Pesto
- 4 cups basil leaves loosely packed
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese optional
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. I like to use a fine-mesh strainer to place the basil in the water so it's easy to transfer.
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust the salt as needed. If you skip the parmesan cheese, the pesto may need a little more salt.
- Refrigerate and use within a few days, or store in the freezer for several months.
Homemade Pesto Price Breakdown
This recipe costs a total of $3.88 to make, or $.24 per tablespoon. Learning how to make pesto is a great way to take advantage of all the fresh basil available during the summer.