Making a pesto sauce is as easy as 1,2,3 and it actually taste 101% better than store-bought with extra ingredients that I don’t even understand. It is one pasta sauce (if I can call it sauce) that doesn’t require any cooking which means less extra cookware to clean and more time enjoying it. This is one of the reason why pesto is one of my beloved choice for an easy delicious and elegant pasta sauce. The bright green color, the subtle garlic flavor, the creamy cheese and nuts plus the slight kick of spicy peppers is something that is tough to beat for something as simple as this. All you need is a food processor or blender and you let the machine do the job for you. Often times, I don’t even need a recipe for this as I can just estimate and adjust the ingredients easily without having to risk the taste of the final product.
As easy as it may seem, pesto has a minor problem if not prepared properly. It can turn brown easily, and you can say goodbye to the lovely bright green color that actually made it stand-out. It’s pretty much the same issue with avocado, it oxidizes or turns brown after few hours of being cut and exposed to air. The good news is it is not a hopeless case, there is something that can be done to extend the nice green color of the pesto and it’s simple, no fancy trick needed. You don’t have to worry anymore that you have to finish the entire batch the same day you make it. Unless you are making it for a big gathering, that shouldn’t be a problem. But seriously, on a regular day who actually finish the entire batch or bottle of pesto? At least not me.
How do we keep pesto from looking green longer?
So the big question is how do we prevent the browning or how do we keep the bright green color last longer? At some point in time, no matter what trick we pull it will turn brown, that is just the nature of pesto specially the homemade version which uses no preservatives. So I guess what we are trying to find is a way to keep it looking green longer, maybe a week rather than a day.
No fancy trick needed, just do this
Simple, by blanching it before using it, yes that easy. I told you no fancy trick needed. Blanching is a cooking process where you scald the vegetable or fruits in boiling water for few seconds then you remove it and submerge it in cold water.
This is how you do it
This is what you do. Boil water in a large pan then turn the heat off once it reached the boiling point. Blanch the spinach for 15 seconds (could be more if you are making a large batch) just enough to wilt it. You will notice that after blanching it, the leaves will have a brighter green color. Then remove it immediately and submerge it in an ice water to stop it from cooking. Pay close attention to the time, you don’t want to over blanch it because when you cook the spinach longer, it will turn dull again. Why so? Because the green pigment that makes the leaves green which is called “chlorophyll” will be taken away or removed. When you notice that the color of the water turns almost greenish, then you’ve blanch it too much. So stop as soon as the leaves are wilted.
How long will it keep the pesto looking green?
After 1 week, it still looks the same as it was the first day I made it. It is still green and still looks and taste fantastic. I was able to enjoy my pesto without having to rush to finish it .
Since we are talking about pesto, let me share with you my simple Spinach Pesto recipe. Try the trick and let me know how it goes.
- 3/4 – 1 cup cooked Spinach (doesn’t have to be exact)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes – optional
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried basil – optional
- 1 clove pealed garlic
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp chopped walnuts or pine nuts
This is a very flexible recipe, you can easily adjust it to make a bigger batch by adding more spinach. Add the oil gradually so that you get to control the consistency then add more or less cheese and nuts as desired.
- Remove the short stems of the spinach and discard. Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and set aside while you boil the water.
- Add 4 cups of water to a pan and bring to boil. Once it starts boiling, turn off the heat and put the spinach. Stir until all spinach are submerge and cooked, about 15 seconds, don’t over blanch. Remove from heat and submerge in ice-cold water to stop from cooking. Scoop out the spinach and squeeze as much water as you can.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
- Add more extra virgin olive oil for a thinner consistency. The consistency of this recipe is a little bit thick.
- If you are using a blender, put the oil first, this will help the ingredients to move easily. Scrape the sides from time to time until everything is mix.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Transfer to a jar with a lid or any air tight container. Cover the top with drizzle of olive oil.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
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