Measuring By Displacement

How do you measure butter?  Or better yet, shortening?  Do you just depend on those little lines printed on the side of your butter stick?  Well, what if you don’t have that option?  Here’s a quick lesson on how my mother taught me to measure volume by displacement of water.  Wha… what’s displacement?  You know when you fill up your bathtub with water and when you slip on in… well, that’s displacement!  The basic idea is to measure your greasy substance that’s simply difficult to get in and out of a measuring cup by putting it in water.  I use this technique for measuring: butter, shortening, peanut butter, aaaaaaaaany thing fatty.

You’ll need a normal measuring cup…

To start you need to fill your measuring cup to a base level of water.  I usually fill it up to 1 cup.  Now, it has to be to a specific measuring point.  That’s how you’re going to measure.

Then you put your shortening, or whatever it is you’re using, in the water until the water level rises to your specified amount.  For example, in this case I needed about 6 tbsp shortening.  I started out with 1 cup of water.  Now, there are 4 tbsp in a 1/4 cup so 2 more tbsp would put it at just a little more over 1/4 cup.  In this situation, I wasn’t able to make an exact measurement, but normally recipes call for measurements in cups.  So, anyway, I put my shortening into the water until the level rose to a little over the 1 1/4 cup line.  You are practically eliminating the 1 cup of water that you put in from the total measurement in the cup.

So, there you have it!  Displacement is that easy!  And I think it’s the best way to measure out shortening.  I hope this helps.  If you have questions, just ask.


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