How wonderful it would be to pick fresh herbs from the garden year round. As we live in Canada, it’s just not an option. Preserving basil in the form of pesto for the months ahead is a great alternative.
5 and 1/2 Cups packed basil leaves
2/3 cup walnuts
4 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Cup olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp
3 Tbsp water
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp white sugar
pepper to taste
In a food processor add all ingredients EXCEPT the cheese and sugar.
Using the pulse setting until all is well mixed and leaves have broken down to peppercorn size. (Over doing it will you will have basil juice)
Stir in the cheese then taste. Add the sugar to cut any bitter flavours.
Spoon the mixed pesto into 125 ml (4 oz) sterilized jars. Leave 1/2 inch room from the lip of the jar. Cover with a new sterilized sealer lid and attach ring. Place jars in a boiling canner, ensuring the jars are fully submerged. Boil for 20 minutes. Remove from canner and allow to cool. Ensure all lids have sealed, date amd label.
This pesto is great on its own, added to pasta dishes or mixed into dips.
Note: The sugar helps to cut any bitter flavours your basil leaves may have. In this recipe we used Mammoth Leaf variety. Varieties such as Thai Basil may not need the added sugar.