Cooking Tidbits – Keeping Pesto Green

Since it is “pesto season”, at least here in Michigan I thought I would share some ways to keep your basil green or to preserve it for later use. This is by far one of my favorite herbs and every year I make a bunch for different recipes and then as the season is winding down I will freeze it to use over the winter.

Back in August of 2012 I posted my first recipe on pesto. In that post I included five different ways to help keep the pureed basil mixture from oxidizing. In a recent issue of Bon Appetit there was a new way suggested by Paolo Dorigato to keep your herb green longer – butter! I have listed all seven ways and I am pretty sure I tried all of the ideas except perhaps the Vitamin C.

Cooking Tidbits - Keeping Pesto Green

1) Throw a small cube of butter into the food processor while it is blending. The butter completely coats the basil mixture – everything tastes better with butter, right?

2) Add lemon juice to the pasta water or the pesto itself (I use to grow a lemon basil and it was quite good)

3) Chill your olive oil before adding to the pesto

4) Add some spinach or parsley

5) Add a pinch of crushed Vitamin C tablet to help keep the basil bright

6) Of course use right away or refrigerate or freeze it. I freeze it in ice cube trays so I can take out for soup or a dip; freeze in a larger container and float a thin layer of oil on top. Place a piece of saran wrap lightly over the oil and cover tightly.

7) Plunge the whole basil leaves into boiling water for 1 minute to set the color. Drain and rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Recipe by Cooking with Aunt Juju…ng-pesto-green/

By the way I have a new 16 cup Breville Food Processor in addition to my 11 cup Kitchen-Aid below!


19 thoughts on “Cooking Tidbits – Keeping Pesto Green

  1. I love pesto, and haven’t done my sweet basil justice this year because of my surgery. I still have pesto from last season in the freezer and it’s like gold. Herbs are so wonderful to keep summer in our kitchen when our outdoors says different!


  2. These are great tips. I like to add parsley to mine – the whole sprig, including the stem – I find it adds not only a pop of flavor but keeps the pesto itself nice and bright.


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