Hurry Up, Make Pesto

With fall hard upon us, it’s time to make as much pesto as possible. Yesterday while I was waiting for my red pepper relish to marinate, I decided to make a batch of pesto for freezing. Even if you do not have much freezer room, pesto is easy to make and keep for that cold January night when you want something to remind you of summer. Also, there is nothing sadder to see than a basil plant that has experienced frost–hurry up, make pesto!

When the basil is fresh, it’s time for pesto.

I don’t really use a recipe for pesto, but here is the procedure:

  • Pick a big pile of basil and parsley leaves–several cups. Rinse them, pat them dry, and trim off the hard stems. (I use a kitchen shears for this.)
  • Get out a blender.
  • Throw in the blender a small handful of walnuts, a big dollop of chopped garlic (I’m lazy and buy the jarred kind), and a teaspoon or so of salt. Give it a whir to chop things up.
  • Then put the leaves in. I’m pro-parsley and put about 40 percent parsley, 60 percent basil, but others like all basil. Add to the blender enough good olive oil to get things started, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Start the blender and watch things pull together. The sauce should not be chunky or too thick. Add more oil, if needed, but not so much that it becomes watery. You want a bright green color.
  • Get out some sandwich bags with the zipper closure. Divide the pesto among the bags, depending on how much you typically use for a meal. Lay the bags on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. When they are frozen the bags can be stored standing up in the door of the freezer or some other convenient place.
  • NOTE: Do not add parmesan cheese to the pesto until you serve it. Cheese does not freeze well.  Without the cheese, frozen pesto will keep for many months–although it probably will not last much past January.

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