I decided to experiment with preserving more of my herbs this year. I always have been making the base for basil pesto by simply chopping freshly harvested basil with olive oil and freezing it in ice cube trays. I sometimes add kale or arugula to the mix. This basil “pesto” is then used throughout the year in pasta dishes, on pizza or focaccia, and for chicken, fish, roasted vegetables and other dishes. I find that leaving out the nuts, cheese and garlic makes it more versatile, and I can always add those later.
I also have been making Thai basil pesto (with sesame oil, rice vinegar and peanuts), but I have always used it fresh or kept it in the fridge for a few days. I just made my first batch this week to use for these crispy pork noodle bowls. So good! I always use a different recipe for the pesto though. This year, I am planning to experiment with freezing Thai basil in a similar way as my regular basil, so I can make fresh Thai basil pesto throughout the colder months. I have five plants in a big container on my porch and expect to get several harvests out of them.
This year, I am trying to find ways to preserve my parsley. I have two huge plants on my porch and one in my plot. Parsley is probably the herb I used the most in the kitchen, from Moroccan meatballs to fish dishes to soups to simple garnishes. I harvested a big handful, washed it and chopped it up in a food processor. I then froze it with a bit of water in ice cube trays and later moved the cubes to a ziplock bag. This first batch turned out quite crumbly, so next time, I will add more water and even freeze some of the parsley in olive oil.