- I love harvest time! Ever wonder what is the best way to preserve basil from your garden? My favorite way is to make a basil oil and a basil puree to be used for pesto that can be frozen for longer use. The Basil Oill is great drizzled on a Caprese Salad. This recipe makes enough for both Basil Oil and my Basil, Arugula, Walnut Pesto Pasta recipe.
Watch the video on how to easily preserve your fresh basil.
Basil Harvest Two Ways: Pesto & Basil Oil
- 2 cups olive oil
- 4 cups tightly packed sweet basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Remove any woody stems or dead leaves from the basil.
- Add salt to large pot, and bring to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Blanch the basil leaves in the boiling water for about 10- 20 seconds until just wilted and bright green. Remove them quickly with a strainer and dunk in the ice water, swishing them around to be sure they’re all cold. Remove from the water and squeeze gently to remove the excess water. Pat dry.
- Roughly chop the basil and put it in a blender. Slowly add the olive oil 1 cup at a time oil and blend until the basil is puréed. The mixture will be very frothy.
- Save half of the puree as a pesto base. Freeze in portion sizes or use immediately to make a batch of your favorite pesto in the same food food processor.
- Let the other half of bail purée settle for about 30 minutes.
- Strain the remaining basil puree through a cheesecloth lined fine-mesh strainer. Let it drain for another 30 minutes. Squeeze the rest of the juice and oil out of the cheesecloth.
- Store in a glass jar. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. For the best flavor, let the oil come to room temperature before using.
- Bonus: Walnut Pesto Recipe using frozen Pesto Base1 1/2 cup Pesto Base, thawed1 cup walnuts, shelled and roasted4 cloves garlic, peeled1 teaspoon black pepper1/2 cup olive oil 1 1/2 heaping cups freshly grated parmesan cheesePut walnuts and garlic in food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs. Add thawed Pesto Base, salt & pepper. Pulse until well blended. While processor is running, drizzle in enough olive oil (up to a 1/2 cup) until a nice thick, yet pourable sauce is reached. Add the parmesan cheese and pulse to blend. The sauce should be served room temperature, and is ready to use over hot pasta or as desired.