Monday, July 9, 2012

Preserving Your Bounty of Fresh Basil

I am just a little behind on blogging here at the Hippy Homemaker because I took some time off to focus on spending time with the boys before the oldest headed off for his summer visit with dad in good ole' Kentucky. It sure would be a lot simpler if we lived closer, but for now we live about 20 hours away. Because of this, my son has more flier miles than I will ever have. I am always putting him on a plane. I can't remember the last time I flew, but although Kentucky is beautiful country, I must confess I'd rather fly somewhere with mountains and/or ocean beaches.

Mr. Frequent Flier. Meanwhile, I am a little behind on my garden too. I have an abundance of fresh basil I don't feel like I am using fast enough, especially now that it is just me and the little one. I decided I needed to preserve some of this summer goodness for the bleak winter, which in San Antonio consists of one long dreary month where we complain about the cold and feel guilty doing so when we hear about the weather from our neighbors in the north.

I have always just tied bundles of basil together and hung them upside down to dry in the late summer heat. This year I am freezing it two ways; as a puree in oil and slightly changed up for pesto. For the strait basil and oil puree, wash and dry a big bunch of leaves. Fill up your food processor bowl and pulse until leaves are finely chopped. Add 1-2 teaspoons olive oil and continue pulsing until oil is evenly distributed. To freeze, either put in plastic freezer bags and lay flat in freezer or freeze by the tablespoon in ice cube trays and transfer to freezer containers.


Freezer Pesto

1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cups firmly packed basil leaves
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place nuts in a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times. Add basil and pulse a few more times. Repeat step with lemon juice. While running the food processor, add olive oil a little at a time. Scrape down sides and process until pureed. Place mixture into a quart sized freezer bag and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Freeze lying flat. 
*note -  I didn't have any freezer bags and I am in the process of switching from plastic to glass, so I froze mine in a small glass jar. 

When ready to use add:
2 Tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
If desired, 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Puree into thawed basil mixture. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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