Made Too Much Pesto? Here's How You Should Freeze It

As the summer begins to wind down, many home gardeners may soon find themselves with an abundance of fresh veggies, fruits, and herbs in their kitchens which, while delicious, could face the risk of going to waste if they can't be used quickly. In order to prevent food waste and avoid the disappointment of a whole summer's gardening amounting to naught, it's a good idea to try and preserve what you have, either by canning it or even preparing it into food that can be easily frozen.

One food this freezing route would be a good option for is fresh basil (and potentially other herbs) which can be made into homemade pesto and saved for months to come. Oh My Veggies notes that making and freezing fresh pesto is a great way to use up an excess of basil — and it's relatively easy. First, you need to make your pesto. This is done by grinding up your basil leaves with pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and whatever other ingredients you might like. Lemon is one very common additive, while The Kitchn recommends tossing in other fresh-from-the-garden herbs like thyme, parsley, and sage. Then, after using some pesto for dinner, you can pop the rest in the freezer for convenient use using one common kitchen tool.

Portion your pesto

So you've decided to freeze all your delicious homemade pesto to use on pasta and sandwiches in the future — now the trick is storing it in a way that doesn't make you defrost it all at once. Thankfully, The Kitchn has a handy suggestion for that: ice cube trays. Simply spoon the pesto into the tray compartments and top each one with a little extra olive oil, then put the trays in the freezer to set for a few hours. Once the cubes are frozen, remove them from the ice cube tray and store them in a clearly-labeled freezer bag. This way you can remove them as needed for quick and easy dinners without letting any go to waste.

When it's time to break out some pesto, the frozen cubes are also simple to use. The Spruce Eats explains that the cubes can either be left in the fridge to melt or can be popped in the microwave and heated up on the defrost setting, stopping intermittently to stir. This method works great if you want to use your pesto as a spread for sandwiches or bruschetta. However, Oh My Veggies has an even easier method for pesto-fying pasta, soup, or roasted potatoes. Just take the desired amount of cubes out of the freezer and drop them in the pot of hot food. The sauce will defrost and coat your pasta or veggies as they cook, or will dissolve nicely and help cool your soup.