Pesto is a delicious sauce made from fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts. It’s fantastic as a spread or sauce on any number of dishes, but also a little on the pricey side. Can you freeze pesto to extend your investment?
Yes! You can freeze pesto, thereby reducing waste, saving money, extending your investment, and making it more convenient to enjoy all kinds of pesto recipes on a regular basis. Whether you make it or buy it, freezing it is a great way to go.
Basil pesto is one of my favorite condiments. Not only is it super flavorful, but it’s also incredibly versatile. It can go on grilled chicken, pizza, sandwiches, or pasta. It’s delicious in soups, salad dressing, and pasta. It makes a fantastic Pesto Bruschetta as well!
Homemade pesto is delicious, but sometimes it’s cheaper to buy it. The best way to buy pesto is in bulk from Costco. Their Kirkland brand tastes great and is incredibly affordable. However, it’s definitely a bulk purchase. Good thing you can freeze pesto sauce!
Why Do This
You’ll save money. Maximize on the bulk pricing Costco offers by freezing pesto in portion-sized amounts to use over the coming weeks. You’ll avoid waste and save some money at the same time.
It’s more convenient. When you have a stash of frozen pesto cubes on hand, you’ll have saved time going to the store or prepping it yourself. They are an easy addition to whatever you’re cooking.
All you need is pesto or basil sauce. This can be homemade pesto you made in the food processor or store bought.
Make sure your pesto is fresh. For best results, freeze it as soon as you open a large tub, but at the very least, make sure you’ve got a few days before the best-by date so you have plenty of time to enjoy it on the other side of thawing.
It’s best to freeze pesto in the portions that you will use later. Most people won’t use a 2-cup portion of pesto, so think small, such as 2 tablespoon, ¼ cup and ½ cup portions.
You can freeze it in:
- ice cube trays
- small, snack- or sandwich-size plastic freezer bags
- half-pint or half-cup mason jars or plastic food containers (please see note below)
- small size Souper Cubes
Divide the pesto into portions you will use later.
Place in the freezer until firm. If using ice cube trays or other silicone trays, you can pop out the cubes and store them in freezer bags until ready to use.
Thawing and Serving Instructions
To serve, remove the frozen pesto from the freezer and thaw in the fridge until ready to use. It should thaw quickly at room temperature, so if you’re prepping something right away, you can leave it on the counter.
Frozen pesto cubes can be added right to soups and sauces for instant flavor.
You can use mason jars for freezing, however there is a risk of breakage. Be sure to leave adequate headspace at the top to allow frozen pesto to expand and freeze the jars without the lids. Once frozen, you can secure the lids, but be sure not to wrench them too tightly. Close the lids just until there’s a bit of resistance.
If you’ve already tossed your pesto with noodles, you can still freeze it. Cool the food completely in the fridge before storing it in the freezer in an airtight container. Keep in mind that pasta will continue to soften in the freezer. Al dente cooked pasta is best for freezing.
Frozen pesto should be good indefinitely provided the temperature stays below zero degrees. However, most home freezers have a fluctuation in temperatures. It’s best to use it up within six months.
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How to Freeze Pesto
- 1 pint pesto
- Divide the pesto into ice cube trays or other freezer-safe containers and place in the freezer. Once firm, remove the cubes from the trays and store in an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer.
- To use: thaw completely in a dish in the refrigerator before using in your recipes.