The Best Way to Preserve Basil

Purple or green, spicy or sweet, I always find room for just one more basil plant when I’m transplanting seedlings in the spring… but come summer, what does one do with a lifetime supply of fresh basil?

Even after all the pesto, paninis, and pizza margheritas that I typically throw a handful of leaves into, I’m still left with a basketful of basil and a need to clear some space for fall.

So, I make basil puree. It’s essentially pesto without the cheese, nuts, and garlic.

Ingredients 3 cups packed basil leaves 1/4 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.

Store and freeze the basil puree based on your needs: – Pour it into a freeze-proof container. – Pour it into a small freezer bag, seal,     and flatten for easier stacking. – Portion into an ice cube tray for     smaller servings that you can pop    out individually.

For pesto: Add 1/2 cup basil puree, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoons chopped toasted nuts, 2 garlic cloves, and a hefty pinch of salt to a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Add olive oil as desired for a thinner consistency. (Makes 3/4 cup)

For pistou: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup basil puree, 4 minced garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt. (Grated Parmesan is optional.) Add olive oil as desired for a thinner consistency. (Makes 1/2 cup)

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