Make Fresh and Easy Pesto with Only 5 Ingredients

When it comes to canning and preserving our herbs, Pesto should be on the top of the list. Often, we look at herbs as either flavoring our sauces, pickles and other canned items, or we dry them and use them in seasoning mixes.

But rarely do we use them fresh – straight out of the garden. Making your own Pesto is a perfect way to do just that. It is also very easy to create with just a few ingredients – Basil, Pine Nuts, Garlic, Olive Oil and Parmesan Cheese.  This also gives you another way to use up all that Basil, as it can produce abundantly!

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how to make pesto

How to Store Your Pesto

Pesto can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. However, often we have more Basil than we can use, so a larger batch is in order.

Because of the uncooked herbs and the oil, canning Pesto is not recommended. You can however, freeze it successfully.

To freeze Pesto, consider how you will use it. If you want to make pasta with a Pesto sauce, consider using 1-cup plastic containers with a lid. Fill it about 3/4 full, then add a light coating of olive oil on top, to prevent the Basil from turning brown. 

Ice cube trays also are perfect for freezing Pesto in one-serving sizes. Simply fill the ice cube trays 3/4 full with Pesto, and again, cover with a light coating of Olive Oil. Cover securely with plastic wrap. Once the Pesto cubes are completely frozen, remove them from the trays and place in a zip-top bag for easy storage. When ready to cook, just remove a tub of your Pesto or a few cubes, and use!

how to make pesto

How to Make Your Pesto


  • 2 Cups packed fresh Basil leaves
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/2 Cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese


  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 Cup of oil. Process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth again. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese thoroughly.

Pesto can be frozen for up to 6 months.

how to make pesto

Need a Quick Meal?

Every once in a while, we just need to put a meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. A very simple and quick way to do that is to add Pesto to your favorite pasta. For us, we like the Farfalle pasta, which is probably just another name for Bow Tie, but a bit smaller.

Choose your favorite type of pasta and cook until al dente (or to your tenderness preference). Drain your pasta and place in a large bowl. 

Add Pesto to taste, and drizzle with Olive Oil. Add salt and white pepper to taste, and then top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve it with a crusty French or garlic bread.

If your Pesto is thawed out and ready to go, this recipe takes 10 to 15 minutes from start to putting it on the table. You just can’t go wrong with that on a busy day – especially if you are trying to find a simple meal to prepare while you are in the heat of battle trying to can all your other harvest!

Keep Reading for More on Fun with Canning!

If you enjoyed this simple recipe, get ready for more delicious ideas for ways you can preserve your summer harvest. While waiting for the posts on how to use your apples, squash and more, stop by and enjoy these other fun posts!

Plan Ahead for Canning Season

The Basics of Canning

Will Canning Really Save you Money?

Have Fun with a Canning Party!

Canning Apples

Cajun Tomatoes

Pizza Sauce

Squash Pickles

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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