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How to Guesstimate the Weight of Your Fruits and Vegetables (Without a Scale)

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If your scale went missing or is nonexistent and your recipe calls for some such pounds or ounces of produce, here's how to go about things.

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That bunch of beets you grabbed at the market, those apples you hand-picked from the orchard, the eggplant you forgot to weigh at the grocery store: If any of these ingredients (or nearly any other fruit and vegetable) crop up in a recipe with weight measurements, you have to pull out your scale. But maybe you can't find your scale or you'd have to wash it first or it's in use by your child for a craft project (or you are like me and don't have one but insisted on making genius applesauce and marinated zucchini this past weekend).

The solution is not scientific nor is it precise, but it is a better option than not making that recipe you have to make. Scan the list below and identify the item that's nearest the needed weight of your ingredient. Grab it. (This list is just a start, of course. Feel free to add the weight of other common pantry ingredients to the comments!) It's worth noting that not every bottle of wine or carton of eggs weighs exactly the same, but these calculations will get you close enough (since when has a beet ever been exactly one pound, anyways?).

Next: Hold the comparison ingredient in one hand and the about-to-be-cooked ingredient in the other. Add or subtract amounts of the cooking ingredient until both seem to be the same amount of heavy. Then, get cooking.

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  • 2 ounces: 1 large egg with its shell
  • 8 ounces: 1 cup of butter
  • 1.2 pounds: Glass bottle of beer
  • 1.5 pounds: Carton of large eggs
  • 2.10 pounds: Bottle of wine
  • 2.3 pounds: 32-ounce carton of beef stock
  • 4.3 pounds: 64-ounce plastic carton of orange juice
  • 8.6 pounds: Gallon of milk

Photos by Alexandra Stafford