Sometimes when I make pesto the basil oxidizes and the whole thing turns a really ugly dark brown/green. I wonder if it's because my food processor blade needs to be sharpened? I made it in my blender and it came out fine. Thoughts?

Madame Sel


Miles T. July 8, 2019
I have 2 secrets for bright, beautiful pesto:

1) Add just a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice. I use 1 tablespoon per 12 lbs of basil. The citric acid acts as a preservative, and the almost negligible amount of added acidity gives the pesto a nice brightness in flavor.

2) Blanch your pesto (just for a second!). Really, just for a second. I put my stemmed basil in a colander and pour boiling water through it, then dump in some ice and run cold water over it. If you blanch it any longer you'll lose a lot of flavor, but I found that this quick blanching knocks back the grassy flavor while retaining all the great herbal notes.

This is the only way I've found to have bright, beautiful pesto without losing any flavor. I've tested it in my fridge and after 2-3 weeks it's still as bright as the day I made it.
Alaina October 29, 2023
How much boiling water do you use? Like a full pot of water?
Bevi September 14, 2010
You can pour a little olive oil over your pesto if storing in a plastic tub.
LiveToEat1960 September 13, 2010
I read recently (don't recall where) that it's the water on the basil leaves that is the culprit, and so I made certain that the leaves were totally dry prior to making my next batch of pesto in the food processor. It worked - bright green pesto!
hennef7 September 13, 2010
You can blanch and dry your basil leaves before processing. Your pesto will stay a bright, lovely green.
phyllis September 13, 2010
Basil tends to oxidize if it's over-pureed. The food processor does this more quickly than the blender. I usually make pesto in my blender to avoid oxidation.
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