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Q: I made Pesto for the first time tonight in my cuisinart. Why did it turn brownish instead if bright green?

asked by @NatalieNelson over 5 years ago
5 answers 1200 views
23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 5 years ago

You need to quickly blanch the basil in boiling water and immediately chill it in an ice bath. This will keep it green. Good luck!

84baef1b 1614 4c3d a895 e859c9d40bd1  chris in oslo
Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added over 5 years ago

Basil is pretty delicate, and it turns brown easily. Some people put a layer of olive oil on the surface to guard against it browning. But that's to keep the surface green. It won't guard against a whole batch. I've never tried that blanching trick, which seems contrary to reason--but I've heard it works.

34aa6e80 ab23 4385 90c0 a945bbab06c8  stringio
added over 5 years ago

I read somewhere that if you make certain the basil is totally dry (no water droplets) prior to processing, the leaves will remain green. I tried this last year and it worked!

4de32233 9b14 42ac bf6a 7a02a8474e54  dsc 0034
added over 5 years ago

did you add any acid, like lemon juice? that will help keep it from turning brown. i never tried the blanching trick, but i also add plenty of lemon juice and olive oil to my pesto and have not had any problem with it turning brown.

84baef1b 1614 4c3d a895 e859c9d40bd1  chris in oslo
Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added over 5 years ago

I was mulling this one over, so I took a look at Harold McGee's chapter on browning in The Curious Cook. He says that lemon and other acidic additions don't work (and make the pesto sour). He doesn't like the blanching method either, as the aroma is diminished. He recommends being sure to take out the stems and stem bases, using pine nuts rather than walnuts, and using some lemon or cream of tartar in your pasta (if that's what you're serving it with).

It's a great chapter in a really good book.