For a brilliant pesto, try blanching basil
There’s nothing like the bright green leaves and fresh scent of basil, especially at its peak during the summer months. And there’s no sauce more appropriate for summer than pesto, with bright basil as the main ingredient. But have you ever gotten tired of making pesto at home and then noticed it changed color shortly after mixing all the ingredients? What starts out as a vibrant green mixture slowly fades to a dark brown color, resulting in an unappetizing result.
The scientific process that describes this color change effect is known as oxidation. Once basil is cut, its enzymes are exposed to oxygen. This exposure causes a chemical reaction that results in a color change. This is what causes apples and avocados to turn brown after being cut as well. But fortunately, you can prevent pesto from discoloring with one simple step: boiling the basil. After just a few seconds in boiling water, the enzymes will disappear, ensuring that the basil retains its vitality even when exposed to oxygen and makes the best pesto possible.
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How to boil and freeze for bright pesto all year round
Once the water is boiling, immerse the basil in the boiling water for about 15 seconds. Make sure to have a bowl of ice water on hand to quickly stir in the basil after the 15 seconds have passed, stopping the cooking process in its tracks. Remember to be careful using a sieve or slotted spoon to mash and move the basil.
After soaking the basil in ice water, be sure to dry the leaves as much as possible before using. Then your bright basil is ready to be made into an equally bright pesto! Wondering what to do now with the abundance of fresh basil you have on hand? Make the most of it by taking the rest of your unused peeled basil and freezing it. You can lay the leaves flat in a freezer bag for easy retrieval later or stack some leaves and twist them together to form tight basil bunches.
Other ways to keep your pesto bright
Now that your boiled basil maintains its gorgeous pesto color, there are more steps you can take to keep your pesto a beautiful green color. When storing pesto, be sure to use a container with a tight-fitting lid or wrap the container tightly in saran wrap. This will keep out as much oxygen as possible and should allow the pesto to stay at its best for three to four days.
You can also coat the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to create a barrier. Try to use the same oil used to make pesto, keeping the flavor balanced. Or you can freeze the pesto just as you freeze extra fresh basil. Place the pesto in some handy ice cube trays and you’re good to go. Your future self will thank you for going the extra mile to have vibrant, delicious green pesto all year long.
Read the original article on Daily Mail.