Extra Helpings: How To Measure Up


Does it really make that big a difference what I use to measure ingredients for recipes? Can I use a glass measuring cup that measures cups and ounces for everything, wet or dry, or do I need those other measuring cups that are marked ¼, ⅓ ½ and 1 cup?

First of all…the answer is YES!! It makes a huge difference what type of measuring cup you use. You should always try to have two sets of measuring cups and spoons—one for liquids and one for dry ingredients. This will save you time when you are making a recipe with a lot of ingredients.
Liquids should always be measured by volume, so the glass measuring cup you have is perfect if it is marked with cups, pints, ounces and quarts. The number of fluid ounces of volume is the same as the number of ounces in weight.
Here are some tips for measuring liquids:
• Always place the glass or plastic measuring cup on a flat surface and bend down so you are at eye-level with the liquid in the cup. That way you can watch what you are pouring to get the precise amount measured correctly.
• For thick liquids, like corn syrup or jelly, spray the measuring cup with a non-stick spray BEFORE you start measuring.

For dry ingredients, you DO need those measuring cups that are marked ¼, ⅓, ½ and 1 cup. Place the measuring cup over a piece of waxed paper and then spoon in the ingredient, like sugar or flour. Level off the measuring cup with your finger or a knife. Carefully pick up the waxed paper and pour the excess dry ingredient back into the container.
Here are some tips for measuring dry ingredients:
• Don’t pack down the dry ingredient into the measuring cup… unless it is brown sugar. Why? Because brown sugar is usually called for in recipes as “firmly packed.” If it is “firmly packed,” when you turn it out of the measuring cup, you should have a perfect little brown sugar mold.
• A kitchen scale can be your best friend. If at all possible, weigh your dry ingredients if the recipe calls out ingredients in ounces or pounds.

One of the ways Mama keeps track of what has been measured goes back to mise en place. When I’m baking an especially complicated recipe (for me, baking is always complicated), I sometimes use paper plates, cups and bowls and write down exactly what it is in or on the plate, cup or bowl. Other times, I just use ramekins and bowls and try my best to remember what is in each. But by doing this, all of my ingredients are measured, lined up and ready to go before I begin actually begin making the recipe.
And now… how do you measure up?

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posted under Extra Helpings

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com