One of my garden goals last year was to have enough basil to make and freeze pesto to last us through the winter. It was a bust, though - my seeds didn't start well and I only ended up with a few basil plants. I tried again this year and, to my surprise, I ended up with a whole row of basil I started from seed.
The basil has done well and so far I've made about 7 cups of pesto. Five of those are in the freezer for use over the winter and we enjoyed the other 2 cups with chicken and pasta. Here's what we have in the freezer so far.
The majority of it is in half-pint jars. The freezer bag contains little pesto pucks that I froze in a silicone muffin pan. I picked that baby up at a yard sale a while ago, just knowing I would eventually find a use for it (besides baking). Each puck is about 1/4 cup which is plenty of pesto for a little pasta salad or a few sandwiches.
Something good to know - pesto doesn't expand when it freezes. I kept the lids off the jars while it froze thinking that it would expand and I didn't want to bust any of my precious canning jars. Come to find out, there was no need. It didn't expand at all.
I've only pulled 4 basil plants so far and with an entire row of 24 plants, I have a ways to go. Note to self: a whole row of basil is a little much. I'm hoping to make a good bit more pesto - at least double what we have on hand now. I'd also like to dry quite a bit to have on hand for Italian seasoning for sauces and pizza.
Here is my pesto recipe.
2 cups basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
2-3 garlic cloves, depending on size
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Few good cracks of the pepper grinder, more to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pulse the basil, garlic, walnuts and seasonings in the food processor until finely chopped. Add in the cheese and pulse another 3-4 times to combine. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until well combined. You will likely need to scrape down the bowl a few times throughout the whole process.
As you may have noticed, I do not use pine nuts in my pesto. At $20+ per pound, I'll pass. I use walnuts instead. The pesto is just as good and much more economical.