Eyeball Estimates: Measuring by Hand

By Carolyn Shearlock, copyright 2011 . All rights reserved.

Measuring by Hand

Have you ever been fumbling around, looking for the right measuring spoon to put the salt in the pasta water?

When she needed a teaspoon or less of something, my grandmother always “measured” it in the palm of her hand.  My mother owned measuring spoons and taught me to use them, but almost never used them herself — again, just measuring in her hand.  And over time, I learned some of their “eyeball estimates.”

I found I used these frequently aboard Que Tal — it was often easier to just measure in the palm of my hand instead of digging measuring spoons out.  And if the boat was rolling a bit, I didn’t spill nearly as much.

I’m sure, when you read some of these, you’re going to think “that can’t be right.”  Before writing this, I checked the measures against actual measuring spoons.  Sure enough, mom was right.

Even if you don’t intend to use these regularly, you might want to print this out and keep it in case you lose a measuring spoon and it’s a while before you can buy another one . . . or you are in a metric country!

1/8 teaspoon 1 pinch using your thumb, index and middle finger
1/4 teaspoon 2 of the above pinches ORcup your hand like you were holding water in it; pour a mound into the center of your hand about the size of a nickel
1/2 teaspoon a mound about the size of a quarter in your cupped hand
1 teaspoon a mound about 1/4-inch all around larger than a quarter in your cupped hand ORan “eating” teaspoon about half full
1 tablespoon fill a soup spoon so it is very slightly rounded up OR turn a 12-ounce pop or beer can upside down (wash it!) – that depression in the bottom holds exactly 1 tablespoon

Another useful reference is my chart for Equivalent Measurements >>

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  1. Yep! I believe it! I check out that section of the book frequently since my brain stopped working…seriously suffering from CRS :( SOOOOO glad I got the book :)

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