This is the final post in my series on simple preserving. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along and that you’ve learned something new and been inspired to do some preserving of your own. Remember that preserving doesn’t need to be complicated, time consuming, or fussy. You don’t need to fully stock your freezer or pantry all at once. It’s about connecting with the seasons, getting to know your local farmers, and reducing packaging waste one ingredient at a time. Throughout this series, I’ve chosen to focus on how to preserve the things that I use regularly based on my dietary preferences. Your preferences may be different and that’s totally fine. Anything is fair game when it comes to putting food by. However, when choosing what to preserve I recommend focusing on things you know you’ll actually use. This may sound obvious, but I can’t tell you how many weekends I’ve spent preserving things only to have them take up space in my pantry or freezer all year and then end up in the compost. Think about what you reach for over and over again at the store (jam, pickles, dried fruit, tomato sauce, frozen peas or corn, frozen berries or peaches etc.) and choose one or two things to DIY. You’ll save money, time, and reduce waste by not getting carried away and preserving more than you can use. Now, let’s talk about how to preserve basil.

I like to freeze a big batch of pesto every summer to toss with pasta, spoon over roasted potatoes, or add to soup during the long winter months. This is my favorite pesto recipe but you can always improvise and make your own version with garlic, toasted nuts/seeds (almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts are all good choices), basil (plus any other greens or herbs you have on hand), quality olive oil, and salt. Just whip up a big batch of your go to pesto, transfer to small containers, and freeze for later. Alternatively, you can scoop your pesto onto a parchment lined baking sheet, freeze, and store in bags. When ready to use, thaw out as many scoops as you need or toss your frozen pesto straight into your soup for a little burst of summer flavor. That’s it! You can also freeze whole basil leaves. Simply blanch the leaves for a few seconds, transfer to an ice bath, spin in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture, then freeze for later. What are you preserving for winter? Share in the comments below…