Tips on measuring by volume from confused in the UK

Amanda1962September 11, 2012

I'm loving the harvest forum, and getting recipe ideas. I'm planning on making a batch of Annie's salsa this weekend. Up until now, I've stuck with recipes, like Small Batch preserving, that have most ingredients by weight. However, I need to get to grips with volume.

Can someone please clarify how you measure vegetables by cup. Is it always prepared as stated in the recipe - ie for the salsa, 8 cups of chopped tomatoes?

Any tips on the best way to go about using cup measures would be so helpful. It is such an imprecise way to measure, I find it so frustrating. There is all this emphasis on exact following of a recipe, except the crucial ingredient, ie low-acid veg, isn't in grams but vague cups!!

BTW I have invested in a proper set of American cup measures, as I know they are apparently different to European cups.

Thanks from England.

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Volume measures are slower too. I prefer to just set a bowl on the scale and dump stuff in, hitting the tare button as I go, so I always look for European recipes!

You have to look at the context of the recipe. If it says "3 cups tomatoes, chopped", then it means chop before measuring. If it says "3 cups of tomatoes" and then down in the instructions it tells you to chop the tomatoes into some size dice, you are measuring whole tomatoes (unlikely, but this is an example). I hope that is clear.

Lot's of times canning recipes will give you estimated weights for a given volume somewhere in the fine print. The Ball recipes estimate 2 3/4 lbs of tomatoes per pint of canned tomatoes, IIRC.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:24AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I can understand why it is frustrating to you. I feel the same way about trying to use metric measurements. It is all in what you are used to.

I assume you know there are many conversion tools available on the web to use that will quickly convert any weight or volume measurement to whatever you need be it grams, ounces, liters, cups, etc.? I linked just one example below.

Another very helpful tool in canning is a large volume (for liquids) measuring container that provides both metric and non-metric measurements. Example of one.

You can also buy dry measuring cups marked for both metric and non-metric measuring.

Is it always prepared as stated in the recipe - ie for the salsa, 8 cups of chopped tomatoes?

Yes. It is the way the recipe is written. the order of the words, that determines when and in what form the ingredient is measured. I don't find that to be any different regardless of the source or form of the recipe.

For example: if a recipe calls for "1 cup nuts, chopped", that is different from "1 cup chopped nuts". In the first case, you should measure 1 cup of unchopped shelled nuts first, then chop them. In the second case, the nuts should be chopped first, then measured. The comma placement changes the measuring technique.

And as already mentioned above, the explanation for which way to do it is often found in the recipe instructions, not the list of ingredients.

Just as dry metric measurements differ from liquid metric measurements, the same is true for non-metric measurements. Use a liquid measuring device like the one linked above to measure liquids and a dry measuring device to measure solids.

Hope this helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Convert weight to volume

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Thanks, both of you. I understand the recipe convention now, which is what I needed. I've had no problems converting measurements for cooking recipes, but you can't just guesstimate the amount of veg in a canning recipe.

Just a further clarification - I'm sure I read somewhere that if you are measuring,say 4 cups, you are supposed to use one large measure instead of 4 individual smaller ones? Is this true?

JXBrown - the other reason I do prefer weighing everything is less clearing up - especially if you have an add and weigh scale as you obviously do. Weighing is far less open to errors in general.

I also had the bright idea of looking through Small Batch and noting her equivalents to help me convert recipes.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 5:13PM
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