I make a standard basil pesto with olive oil, pine nuts, and sea salt. Sometimes it tastes...
great but sometimes it tastes bitter. Where am I going wrong?
My guess is that the ages of the olive oil and the basil play a huge part in the final taste, as well as the varieties you choose. The flavor of these varies from batch to batch and variety to variety. You are probably aware that there are many varieties of basil with different degrees of pepper and sweet flavors..
There is also the issue of the age of the basil, pine nuts and olive oil. Anything that is verging on going bad, especially oil, can have some funkiness.
If you are freezing then thawing your pesto, you might end up with flavor issues, but usually not.
mmm, I think that you need to look at the olive oil and the pine nuts. if they dont smell sweet then you should not use them. Both of these item contain oil. If it goes rancid this will produce a bitter taste. Always store the pine nuts in the freezer and the olive oil in a cupboard alway from sources of heat.
If your basil is not "sweet basil" ie it is not a broad leaf type then this can effect the taste. I also add parmesan to my pesto to make it more delicious.
make sure all your salt is crushed up. Use maldon instead and add garlic, black pepper and loads of parmesan cheese. Taste as you go along just as any good chef should do!
You MUST store your olive oil in the refrigerator. Olive oil turns rancid very quickly when left out. It will not only acquire a bitter taste, but it will lose all of it's health benefits.
When kept in the refrigerator, it will solidify after a day or two but that's not a problem. Just run the bottle under warm water for about 30 seconds or so to free up however much you need.
Nuts can be kept in the fridge if you plan to use them up within a week or two. For longer storage keep them in the freezer.
Buy olive oil in bottles, not cans.
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