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Measurement Rant

Posted by Charcuterie none (My Page) on
Fri, May 25, 12 at 16:34

I wish that canning recipes would just include measurements based on weight for the fruits and vegetable amounts. It gets so confusing trying to figure out how much produce to buy for multiple recipes based on cups of prepped ingredients.

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More Measurement Rant

I was making this recipe recently and the measurements just came out weird. I was going to double the amounts so I weighed out 6 1/2 lbs of peaches even though I was only going to need 5lbs. I figured I should go ahead and boil/shock/peel a little extra just in case I needed them. I also measured out the 1 cup of vinegar that would be required. I was going to use that to hold the peeled peaches while I chop them to prevent browning.

After chopping I measured and I only had 9 cups of peaches. Since the vinegar was include that meant I only 8 cups of fruit. I was pretty confused. Did I just cut the pieces too small or something? The slices were about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, each slice was cut into 3 pieces.

I was doubling the recipe and the final yield was suppose to be 16 8 oz jars. After prepping all of the ingredients I measured the salsa to see how much I had. It was only 80 oz of salsa where it should have been 128 oz. I was really confused.

This always happens to me when I can. It's very frustrating.

Peach Salsa adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving makes 8 - 8oz jars

1 c white vinegar

2 1/2 lb peaches, about 8, yielding 6 c chopped

1 1/4 c chopped red onion

4 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 c loosely packed cilantro leaves

2 tbsp honey

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

RE: Measurement Rant

First of all, if you were doubling the recipe, you should have used 2 cups of vinegar. That would have been another 8oz. of liquid. Hopefully you did this!
Second, the peaches should have been measured as written,
6 cups, chopped. Depending on how soft or firm and how much moisture was in them naturally, the weight could vary.
Soft ones are going to pack a little tighter and require more than very firm ones that maintain their shape.
Third, the vinegar should have been measured separately. You cannot assume that you have correct quantities when the vinegar will fill in the spaces between the peaches (does that make sense?).

Lastly, how did it come out? The yields are almost always approximate. It's a pretty safe recipe with that much vinegar and high acid peaches. Not too many low acid veggies.

Sounds like it would be really good on pork or chicken!


RE: Measurement Rant

First while I agree it would be nice but sadly it isn't going to happen so we either have to work with what is available and adjust it or we have to pick different recipes. A pain I know.

And when working with "modified" recipes the problem can be even worse. The recipes aren't intended to be exact - they can't address the different sizes of peaches for example and that alone could explain your differences. And the amount produced is also a general guideline so if you are close to the "Makes x pints", fine.

Second, doubling such recipes isn't recommended as it only leads to mistakes and confusion and in some cases can be quite risky. Making the recipe first, as it is written, can usually alert you to problems with it and you can make notes for future reference.

Third, this part is confusing - the vinegar in the recipe isn't to prevent darkening - doesn't work well for that anyway - but is required in the recipe for acid. So if you were doubling it you would need 2 cups, not one. Use Fruit Fresh or ascorbic acid to prevent darkening, even lemon juice works better than vinegar.

But in tis case, assuming you doubled the vinegar, there isn't a safety issue, just one of flavor. So how did it taste before you filled the jars? If you were happy with it then all worked out. If not, note what adjustments it needs for in the future.


RE: Measurement Rant

1) The recipe called for 1/2 cup of vinegar, I doubled it to 1 cup. The 1 in this recipe above should be 1/2.

2) I measured the vinegar separately. I then poured it into another container and added my peaches to it as I removed their skin.

3) DigDirt, the acid is for safety but it can also do double duty to prevent browning. Adding peaches to acids prevents oxidation as the chopped fruit sit around. I was peeling/chopping over 20 or so fruit. If I hadn't added them to the vinegar they would have turned brown.

4) I see no problem doubling recipes if you understand fractions. I don't double jams and jellies though because it can mess up the setting.

5) The salsa came out fine, I just added more peaches to get it up to the correct volume. I went ahead and added about 1/2 cup more vinegar and the juice from a lime just in case. It tasted fine so it was no big deal.

6) I really wish there was an emphasis put on metric measurements or imperial weights. I think it would make canning so much easier to just do everything by weight.

7) I agree that it probably won't happen, sigh! :(

RE: Measurement Rant

8) I thought displacement was an acceptable way to measure chopped items? Suppose you need 2 cups of fruit and 1 cup of vinegar. Measure the cup of vinegar into a quart measure, then keep adding chopped fruit until it hits the 3 cup mark. You just have to remember to deduct your liquid from the total, otherwise it should be fine.

RE: Measurement Rant

The displacement method is fine.

There was a move afoot to transpose all those old recipes (many pickles, relishes, chutneys, preserves in their original form go back to the 1800's or even earlier) but because the Extension agencies and the NCHFP in particular don't have funding there's just not the money to do it.

I weigh all ingredients for favorite recipes and create my own metric version. For consistent results weighing and meticulous notes are very helpful, especially when we consider it will be a year before we're making the next batch.

I do the same with holiday baking and anything seasonal. Notes everywhere.


RE: Measurement Rant

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, May 29, 12 at 7:20

In the back of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving book there is a "Produce Purchase Guide". It's not a cure all but it's helped me quite a bit.

I never can seem to get the amounts just right either so I always wind up with a little more or a little less than what the recipe calls for. My canning recipes are riddled with notations in the margins about quantities. :-)


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