Preserving basil from the garden as pesto

It’s getting to be towards the end of summer growing season in Austin. Our two basil plants are still crazy large, as in, overflowing our garden by a lot. We haven’t used it nearly as much as we should so I decided to preserve some to use throughout the winter. I’ve read about a number of ways to preserve basil, but for today I decided to make my own version of pesto and then freeze it. Maybe I’ll use another method next week.

First I brought in a huge sinkful of basil.


Next I washed it and separated the good leaves from the stems.


After running the leaves through the salad spinner (I had 3 bowls!) I put them in batches into my food processor.


I added olive oil, white miso paste, water, salt, pepper, pine nuts and feta cheese in batches with the basil until the pesto tasted the way I wanted it to.


To freeze the basil, I spooned it into an ice cube tray. I use a tray that has a lid so that I can easily stack things on top of it if I need to. I also had enough pesto to fill up a separate round container. The idea is to thaw individual cubes as needed for a single meal. After the pesto froze, I removed it from the tray and put the cubes in a freezer bag.

Basil-5 Basil-6

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Making garden herb infused olive oil spread

Sometimes we like to make little personal pizzas on top of flatbread for dinner. Instead of pizza sauce, we tend to use olive oil or hummus.

Our garden is somewhat sad this year due to the crazy drought we’ve been having but at least the herbs are doing well.  I picked some thyme, oregano, garlic chives and rosemary from the garden to start with:

I then stripped the thyme, oregano, and rosemary leaves from their stems and sliced up the chives and put them in my mortar:

I proceeded to use the pestle to crush up the herbs:

and then mixed in olive oil:

We spread this concoction on our flatbread pizzas and we could definitely taste the herbs after the pizzas finished cooking. Yum!