Stuck with more herbs than you can handle?
Making some pesto out of them is almost always an answer.
It is a creamy, delicious, and versatile add-on to many dishes.
But the question remains: Can you freeze pesto sauce?
Yes, you can freeze pesto and spice up your fish, chicken, and pasta. Without the oil coating, it will last 2 to 3 months. With oil, you can expect 4 to 6 months in the freezer.
How to Freeze Pesto?
Storing pesto or mayonnaise can take different forms, and freezing it is one of them. But tossing it into the freezer is the only way that lets you enjoy it over time. This way, you wouldn’t have to think about finishing leftover pesto. Moreover, your freezing options are not limited.
There are two varied ways to go about freezing it. Let’s take a look
1. Ice Cube Tray
Consider freezing pesto in ice cube trays for consumption later. Fill the ice cube tray with some of it and toss it into the freezer. It will take a few hours to freeze. Once frozen, take them from the tray and put them into a freezer bag. Note the date on a sticky label, and toss it back into the freezer.
You might often see the dip’s color fading or changing with time. Drizzle a thin layer of oil on top of the pesto cubes to avoid that. Then keep a plastic wrap sheet over the tray. Once frozen, remove the plastic wrap and transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe plastic bag. The oil layer ensures the frozen dip is not darkened by oxidation.
2. Glass Jars
Try to get your hands on some small jars. They can be four-ounce or half-pint ones as long as they are airtight. This is crucial for storing pesto. You wouldn’t want air to seep in and cause discoloration to the dip.
Fill the jars with some dip, screw the lids tightly, and toss them into the freezer. You’ll need to ensure no air gets through the jar. Add a sticky label as a reminder of when to take it out.
Can You Freeze Pesto? 3 Freezing Tips
Now that you know how to freeze pesto, a few tips and tricks here and there can help. You wouldn’t want to risk your dip by messing up during freezing or defrosting. Here are a few tips to help you through your freezing journey:
Get Ice Cubes
Ice cubes are great for portioning your pesto and freezing them well. You can take out as much as needed and let the rest sit in the freezer. Have only one person to serve? Grab a pesto cube and add it to whichever recipe you are preparing. For every person, take one cube, and you are good to go.
Seal with Olive Oil
Did you know oil can be an extremely effective seal? Oxidation can be an enemy to your leftover pesto. So, try to avoid air from seeping in by sealing it with olive oil. This ensures your pesto does not turn brown overnight or over time.
Here is a less-known fact: there is no need to thaw pesto. Simply drop a pesto cube into your recipe, be it pasta or chicken, over low heat. Keep stirring till it melts and gets warm through and through.
Freeze and thaw pesto well, and you can enjoy it for months. Moreover, this dip is one of the easier ones to store, with a greater payoff. All you need to ensure is whether you have all the necessary ingredients for storage.
Also Read: Can you freeze cooked chicken?
Equipment Needed for Freezing Pesto
Freezing pesto does not call for high-quality equipment. Chances are you will find most of them lying around at home anyway. If you can find the following equipment, you are all set to freeze pesto. Here’s what you need for the best results:
- Ice cube tray
- Freezer-safe plastic containers or bags
- Airtight glass jars
- Sticky labels and marker
How to Defrost Frozen Pesto?
Here’s something fun about defrosting pesto: there is no need to. Want to toss some into a recipe later during the day? You don’t need to take out a few cubes or some of it from the jar and thaw. Grab as much as you need and let the rest sit in the freezer till you use it next.
You can add them directly to a hot pan or pot. Keep stirring till it regains its original creamy texture. Add a little oil if you notice a little sogginess or watery texture. Some crushed greens or herbs can also revitalize the texture right away.
Want to use pesto like a dip? This can require thawing, but even that is no rocket science. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Need to speed up the thawing process? Toss it into the microwave for a few seconds. All you need to ensure is that you do not refreeze thawed pesto.
Also Read: Does Mustard Go Bad?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Can you freeze pesto if it has cheese in it?
Ans. Yes, you can, but I suggest against it. Even if it stays without spoiling, you wouldn’t get the flavor of the cheese. Between frozen pesto with and without cheese, the former is tastier. But that does not mean cottage cheese does not go well with pesto. I suggest adding some to the dish or the sauce right before serving.
Q2. Why shouldnt you reheat pesto?
Ans. Remember, exposing your dip to a lot of heat for a long time can alter its flavor. If possible, I always recommend adding the pesto at the end of the cooking process. This ensures there is minimal loss of flavor.
Q3. How long does pesto last in the fridge?
Ans. Put pesto in the fridge, which will last 1 to 3 weeks. Freeze it, and it will last much longer. Its shelf life depends on multiple factors. Look at the best before date and choose the preparation method well before storing.
Q4. Do you add pesto to hot or cold pasta?
Ans. You can do either, but adding pesto to hot pasta is a game-changer. Throw in some pesto or soy sauce when the pasta is warm after being cooked. Garnish with tomatoes and some toasted pine nuts, and make a meal out of it.
Q5. How can I tell if pesto has gone bad?
Ans. There are tell-tale signs to know if your dip has gone bad. Be concerned about discoloration (especially from green to black or brown). It might be best to say goodbye to your dip if it turns brown.
The Bottom Line
Pesto is a great dip to experiment with. Add them to almost anything, and you will get a minty freshness. But if stored improperly, it can go to waste, which is never ideal. Try to follow the best freezing practices, especially since they are simple. Pesto is one of the easier things to freeze and enjoy later.
Ensure you have the right ingredients and do not compromise on an airtight container. Freeze it well, and enjoy it in tons of dishes for months!