Any suggestions on how to keep pesto from browning after mixed with pasta ?

Nancy M
  • Posted by: Nancy M
  • August 13, 2015


Emily L. September 9, 2015
i always squeeze some fresh lime juice as soon as i cut the basil to keep it from browning!
mainecook61 August 30, 2015
To answer Susan W re freezing basil, it keeps nicely if chopped, then frozen with a tablespoon or so of water in an ice cube tray. These basil cubes can then be stored in a tightly sealed bag. They keep their color and can be tossed into pasta sauces all winter. The Ball canning people make a little "cube" tray especially for the purpose of freezing herbs in this fashion.
Susan W. August 30, 2015
Thank you Mainecook. I liked the idea of just shoving it into a freezer bag, but something just didn't work. I think I'll do a combo of the basil olive oil paste that I did last year and I'll try your basil and water cubes.
Picholine August 30, 2015
To be specific about pesto mixed with pasta, this really needs to be served as soon as mixed for two reasons it will turn brown and this dish gets cold quickly. I keep the basil pesto covered with olive oil and when making a pasta to serve I put the pest out of ridge at room temp...I put some dollops of pesto in a heated pasta serving bowl and pour hot drained pasta on top to mix and serve ASAP. I've made this forever and my pesto recipe is on this site, I think it's under Rick's Basil Pesto.
Nancy M. August 30, 2015
Thank you !
Picholine August 17, 2015
When I make Basil pesto, I spread it in a small container to store but before I refrigerate or freeze I pour a thin coat of olive oil on top.
If you use immediately it shouldn't brown. I never blanch basil and it still maintains the color. I also freeze basil freshly picked from garden in summer. I place in 1 cup plastic bags sealing tight for use in deep winter. After the basil freezes you can squish the back and basil crumbles to add to sauces and other dishes. I'm picking and freezing now while and my basil is loving the trim...more just keeps on coming!
Susan W. August 30, 2015
I tried this last summer and the basil had what I can only describe as a sort of murky odor and flavor. I freeze thyme, bay leaves and rosemary every year with great success, so I'm not sure what went wrong. I use good freezer bags and close them up with a straw in the corner to remove the extra air before removing the straw, so they are nice and airtight. I switched to processing the basil with a little olive oil which works great, but I'd rather freeze just the whole basil.
Courtney C. August 14, 2015
Garlic scapes are in season right now and make a wonderful pesto when mixed with toasted walnuts, grated parm, and lemon juice (salt and olive oil too of course). This pesto stays nicely green for days. Kenzi Wilbur has a great recipe here on Food52 as well:
Kristen W. August 14, 2015
I use parsley for pesto more often than basil simply because I always have it on hand. It tastes great and tends to hold its color better, even without blanching.
Melusine August 13, 2015
I can confirm that -- blanching works beautifully.
HalfPint August 13, 2015
I think you might be able to 'set' the color of the basil by doing a quick blanch of the basil leaves and then immediately shocking in ice water. Saw this on Good Eats with Alton Brown. That should set the color and it won't turn brown from the oxidation. AB said that the blanching will not affect the flavor of the basil. So blanch/shock your basil, then make the pesto.
702551 August 30, 2015
Yes indeed, blanching the basil leaves will result in a pesto that retains its color for weeks.
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