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"Pesto Day 2006".....SERIOUS "Pesto-age" Can You Guess...? (w/PHOTO)

At the end of each summer I make pesto and deliver some to friends, neighbors, teachers, and co-workers (with a loaf of crusty bread). I was about 3 weeks late this year and my gorgeous Genovese basil was starting to "give up the ghost". The day is over, and I'm relieved (and tired).

Here is the challenge for you...
Can you guess (from the photo below) how many cups of *packed* basil this harvest produced?

Funwithfood's Genovese Basil Harvest 2006:

(The winner will win.....nothing but the satisfaction of being..."The Winner".)

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        1. The disparity is so funny to me--hard not to laugh and/or tip my hat.

          I am *definitely* aware of those who have actually made pesto, and those who have not...that's ALL I'm going to say!

          (Stay true to your "gut"...fellow "pesto-ites")

          2 Replies
          1. re: Funwithfood

            Hey! I'm the one who said 50 and I've been growing my own basil and making pesto for 15 years! Maybe it depends how packed it is. It seems that I always have more basil than I think I do. 30, my first guess, just seemed too small. But maybe I'm crazy...

            1. re: Glencora

              To quote an old song..."My lips are sealed..."

            1. 1 1/2 cups. We're talking the cut bunches in the glasses on the garden bench, right?

              3 Replies
              1. re: rainey

                I think I "pack" differently than everybody else! Or else you guys are using some of the stems too.

                1. re: rainey

                  Yes rainey, the basil in the vases on the bench.

                  1. re: rainey

                    OK. After viewing the second photo and, again, thinking "packed" I'll go to 3 cups.

                  2. OK I'll play....6. PACKED.

                        1. Here's another angle...

                          I'll "announce" the winner Tuesday morning...

                          1 Reply
                            1. I would go with 6 - really packed...

                              1. I am going with 6 also.

                                1. i'd have to guess about 4

                                    1. Hint: It took me over 2 hours to pull the leaves from all of the stems...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Funwithfood

                                        Ugh. THat is my least favorite part and probably this week's project.

                                        Funny, I measure by how many sandwich size zip lock baggies I can fill up. No idea on cups. But:

                                        33 is my guess.

                                            1. I would guess between 5 and 6 cups. Do you quit growing at the end of summer? This is our first year growing. We planted in a square foot garden. What did you use to keep the bugs off? We had those green worms that would feast daily leaving holes in the leaves. We're going to try to grow throughout the winter. We live in a warm area and my husband is going to cover the garden to make a sort of green house. Any thoughts on that?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                                It is an annual, and starts to flower and die at the end of August (we live in SoCal).

                                                I had *lots* of grasshoppers this year. (See my tomato posts on the Not About Food Board for how I "handled" them :) For worms, you need to "follow the poop" (sorry), then 'eliminate' them.

                                              2. WOW! You've got a green thumb. Those are serious bouquets of basil. If you don't use the stems... I will guess 8 cups.

                                                Can I ask how you divide up your booty...little glass jam jars, or maybe recycled clear plastic tubs?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: vicki_vale

                                                  I froze some in stackable plastic deli containers (8 oz.), and some in small ramekins. As you can guess, my neighbors love pesto day!

                                                    1. One, Two

                                                      Skip a few

                                                      99, 100

                                                      1. ...and the winner IS....

                                                        ...the first guess...



                                                        Congratualtions, no one else even came close.

                                                        This harvest produced 45 (very) packed cups of basil.

                                                        1. Yay! I will enjoy my imaginary prize. I have to say I doubted myself. Congrats on growing so much lovely basil. I can believe that harvesting it took two hours! Now you've got me craving pesto. I have two smallish plants left so maybe I'll make some tonight.

                                                          1. So what do you do with all that basil? I went back and reread...I thought you were asking how many cups of pesto. anyway..how do you preserve it? I blended some in a food processor with a light smattering of evoo and then froze them in an ice cube tray.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                                              the thought of buying all those pine nuts boggles my pocketbook! and the cheese....I hope your giftees appreciate what you do and reciprocate in some way!

                                                              Great contest--since I don't pack my basil leaves, heck I don't even measure, just taste--I was waaaaay off. Good going Glencora! (how is Planty Pal these days?:) )

                                                              --A Trollope fan

                                                              1. re: toodie jane

                                                                I do the same thing with my overactive basil plants. Last year, three plants produced 2 summer cuttings like that, plus the final finish cutting. I measured by the double-sinkful of cleaned leaves -- four total over three cuttings, which made something like 3 quarts of pesto base to freeze, and 5 quarts of pesto made in early December. This year was an off year, with only one double-sinkful so far, and maybe another in October before the first freeze.

                                                                There's really nothing like homemade pesto in December, which makes the cheese and nuts worth it. I've started using toasted pecans instead of pine nuts lately, which cuts down on the expense some, and adds a different but equally good flavor to the pesto.