If you are looking for the best ways to freeze and store pesto, this comprehensive guide has got you covered.
I have found these methods to work like a charm.
So, let’s get started.
- Ziploc Bag
- Prep and Pack: Make your favorite pesto recipe. Then transfer it into a Ziploc bag. Don't overstuff the bag, and you can split it into two to three portions.
- Flatten and Seal: Flatten the bag of pesto, squeezing out all the excess air and sealing it. You should end up with a thin sheet of pesto.
- Label and Freeze: Add a label on the bag with the best before date, and you can freeze it on a baking sheet so that it lays down flat till it freezes solid. You can remove the tray later on and freeze the bags flat on top of each other.
Check out this tutorial by “Robin Asbell Plant Based Chef” on YouTube to see how it is done -
Freezing Pesto in Freezer-Safe Air-Tight Containers
If you have large portions of pesto that you plan to use in one go, this is a great method to opt for.
Prep and Pack
Prepare your favorite pesto recipe and then transfer them into a freezer-safe air-tight container.
Top and Seal
Top the pesto with some olive oil. Make sure that there is at least an inch space at the top to accommodate for any expansion once it freezes. Then seal the container.
Label and freeze
Add a label on the container with the best before date, and you are all set to freeze the pesto.
Freezing Pesto in Ice Cube Trays
Freezing Pesto in ice cube trays is a great way to freeze them if you are looking to use small single-serving portions later on.
Prepare and Fill
Once you make your preferred pesto recipe, pour it into an ice cube tray and fill it.
Cover and Flash Freeze
Cover the ice cube tray with some parchment paper and leave it in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight and let it freeze solid.
Pack and Seal
Transfer the cubes of pesto into a Ziploc bag and seal them in. Make sure to squeeze out all the excess air before sealing. You can use a straw to make this process easier.
Label and Freeze
Add a label on the bag with the best before date, and you can freeze the pesto till you need it next.
Here is a video tutorial by “Oh, The Things We’ll Make!” on YouTube –
How Long Can You Freeze Pesto?
You can freeze pesto for up to 6 months. If you are freezing them in bulk, topped with olive oil, in a container, you can freeze them for longer – 9 to 12 months.
It is best to freeze them as soon as you make them. Because the longer it stays out, or even in the fridge, the pesto (depending on the recipe) can have risks of botulism. So, the sooner it is frozen, the better.
How to Store Frozen Pesto?
You can store frozen pesto in any freezer-safe air-tight container or Ziploc bag.
The choice between the two options comes down to how many portions you plan to use at a time and how much freezer space you can afford.
Unless you plan to use a huge portion in one go, it is best to use Ziploc bags which allow you to break off just the right amount of pesto without having to thaw the whole batch.
It is also great if you are pressed for freezer space as you can store them compactly as thin sheets.
How to Defrost Pesto?
You can defrost pesto in the fridge by leaving it in there for a couple of hours or overnight to thaw gradually. Once it thaws, you can leave it in the fridge for a week or so, topped with olive oil.
You could thaw it on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours to get it done faster. You could also thaw it in the microwave, but this is not recommended.
if you opt for either of these two methods, it is best advised to use up the pesto immediately.
If you are using frozen cubes of pesto or chunks of pesto sheet, and want to cook with it, you can skip the thawing process and use it directly out of the freezer.
Can You Refreeze Pesto?
No, it is best advised not to refreeze pesto. Repeated freezing and thawing can cause drastic changes in the texture and flavor of the pesto.
It can make it go brown and mushy over time. Moreover, leaving it out for long increases the chances of bacterial growth.
If you wish to avoid having to refreeze pesto, you can portion them beforehand into ice cube trays or freeze them into a sheet in a Ziploc bag which you can break chunks off of easily.
Does Pesto Freeze Well?
Yes, pesto freezes well and is a great way to store it for the long term. But keep in mind that it will not look or be as great as freshly made pesto.
Although it is safe to eat, the frozen pesto can go through oxidization and can also lose its color and go brown.
To avoid discoloration, you can blanch the basil (or whichever herb you are using) beforehand.
Yes, you can freeze pesto in a jar, as long as it is freezer safe. If it is a store-bought jar of pesto, it is best advised not to freeze it unopened.
Unless there is some headspace, when the pesto freezes and expands, the jar can crack and make a mess in the freezer. So, it is best to transfer them into containers or Ziploc bags before freezing.
Yes, you can freeze pesto with cheese in it. You can use any of the methods mentioned above. But that being said, it is best to avoid adding the cheese until you have defrosted the pesto. This can help keep the pesto fresh in the freezer for longer.
I hope this article has helped you freeze and store delicious pesto.
If you have any doubts or would like to share some tips and tricks of your own, it would be great to hear from you.
Feel free to share this article with your friends and family, to help them make the most out of their pesto.