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How to avoid losing track of what you've measured for your recipe

Place unmeasured ingredients to the left of your work space and move to the right as they are measured. It also helps to count out loud while measuring. To keep track of the number of eggs you've cracked, move the exact number of eggs you need to one side of the egg carton and proceed to crack. Or, if the carton is full when you start, it's easy enough to keep track by the number of emptied cups.

Always ensure that you do not spill ingredients into a mixing bowl. Never measure over the mixing bowl. Instead measure over a piece of paper towel, parchment, or waxed paper, so that you can pour any spills back into the ingredient box or container. And to measure salt without spilling all over the counter as this always seems to happen with those metal spouts. To catch spilled salt, hold a larger measuring spoon under the spoon into which you are measuring. Any overflow will cascade into the larger spoon. Or, if you tend to measure a lot of salt, store it in a lidded container or salt box so that the pouring dilemma is eliminated. All you have to do is dip in with a spoon.

Preparation time could be saved too when measuring. Eyeball your measurements. Except in baking, where the structure of the finished product is dependent on an exact ratio of ingredients, precise measurement is not always essential in most recipes. Experienced cooks learn to approximate small measurements, such as teaspoons and tablespoons, by eyeballing them, a practice that is worth learning because it can greatly speed up the assemblage of ingredients.

To learn to eyeball measurements, measure a teaspoon of salt or sugar and pour it into your hand. Observe it and try to remember its shape and mass, feel how much it weights, and notice what area it takes up in your palm. Now, try pouring that much salt directly into your hand from a container. Test your accuracy by pouring the contents of your hand back into a measuring spoon.

When measuring flour and sugar, you can save time by keeping a 1/2-cup measure in the bin. That way, you'll always have an easily multipliable measure ready. For measurements of less than 1/2 cup, use spoon measures.

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