How Long Does Pesto Last?

So you just made a batch of aromatic pesto or bought your favorite pesto from the store and have more than half a jar left and are wondering how long it will last and how to store it?

Here are some tips on ways to store pesto so that you don’t have to throw out this delicious Italian basil-based paste. We will also discuss what the shelf life of pesto is and does it go bad.

How to store pesto

Proper storage of ready-made pesto depends on the type of pesto and container you choose to buy. If you prefer pesto in cans or jars, which can be found non-refrigerated on store shelves, then you can easily and safely store it away in your pantry until you decide to use it. It can be stored at room temperature for long, as long as you haven’t opened the can or jar.

The same goes for salsa, tomatoes, and other sauces you buy in jars and cans from your grocery store’s regular shelves.

In order to ensure that your pesto is stored correctly, always keep it away from direct sunlight and in a cool place where the temperatures do not change drastically.

When you decide to open your stored pesto and use it, you will need to seal it tightly after use and refrigerate it. If the container it comes in cannot be sealed properly after opening, then transfer the pesto into a sealable container, and place it in the fridge.

Some types of commercially available pesto are stored in the refrigerators of the store. With this type of ready-made pesto, you should keep it in a fridge as soon as you buy it. After opening it, make you seal it back tightly, and if this is not possible, pour the pesto into a sealable container in order to store it properly for use in the future.

If you prefer to make your own delicious pesto at home, then you will need to store it in a tightly sealed jar or another container in the fridge at all times.

In case you are not planning to use the pesto immediately after making it, you can add a few spoons of olive oil on top of it in the jar to help preserve its aroma and taste for longer.

Can pesto be frozen?

Yes, pesto can be frozen, but how its texture will be affected by the freezing depends on the type of pesto you buy or make.

Typically, there should be no problem to freeze ready-made or homemade pesto in your freezer, but it is recommended that you experiment with the different types of pesto and see how freezing and thawing affect the texture and taste of the Italian paste.

While some culinary experts recommend that you only freeze pesto for up to 30 days, others claim that it will not go bad when frozen even after months.

Obviously, the taste and aroma, and texture will hardly be the same after the freezing, but it is still better than throwing out pesto because you can’t use it all when you buy it or make it.

One of the best ways to freeze pesto is in ice cube trays. This will allow you to take out and thaw only the amount of pesto you need for a specific dish per time, instead of defrosting and melting the entire quantity and freezing back the leftover sauce.

What is the shelf life of pesto?

When it comes to commercially available pesto, which is sold unrefrigerated, you can store it at room temperature or cooler for as long as it says on the best by date on the product label. But if it is not opened, it will probably last for weeks and even months after the best before date. 

Once you open a tin of unrefrigerated ready-made pesto, you should store it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator and can expect it to last for up to 10 days.

As for commercially available refrigerated pesto, this type will last in the refrigerator up to its best-by date and maybe about 7-10 days after that if it is not opened. Once you open it, you can expect the sauce to retain its qualities and taste for 5 to 7 days in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

If you want to store homemade pesto, then do it by keeping it in a properly sealed container in the refrigerator, and make sure you use it within the next 4 to 5 days.

Homemade pesto has the shortest shelf life because you don’t add any preservatives when making it at home and use only real fresh ingredients, which will go bad pretty quickly.

For the best result, if possible, you should prepare as much pesto as you will need for your cooking every time. This, though, is not always possible as we can all agree, so when required, make a larger batch and freeze it in ice cube trays, small containers, bags, or others.

Here is an overview of the storage time and shelf life of different types of pesto:

Unrefrigerated, unopened commercially available pesto – to the best by date plus up to 3 months

Unrefrigerated opened commercially available pesto – 7-10 days in a refrigerator

Refrigerated unopened or opened commercially available pesto – up to 5 -7 days in the refrigerator

Homemade pesto – 4-5 days in the refrigerator

How to prepare fresh pesto

If you decide to make some fresh pesto for your pasta, fish, chicken, or other dishes, then here is an easy and delicious recipe for pesto for you:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh green basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Of walnuts or pine nuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of parmesan (freshly grated)

All you need to do is combine the basil, nuts, and garlic with a mortar and pestle or using a blender or food processor, and then slowly add the olive oil to create a smooth sauce. You then need to add the grated parmesan and process it briefly again.

And voila! Your aromatic, mouthwatering pesto is ready!

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