# Old-Time Weights and Measures

## English Weights and Measures

September 25, 2017

Ever heard of a firkin, hogshead, and coomb?  Convert old-time English weights and measures to modern-day equivalencies with this chart from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

 60 pounds apples = 1 bushel 52 pounds beans = 1 bushel 24 pounds beets = 1 bushel 56 pounds carrots = 1 bushel 55 pounds flour = 1 bushel 54 pounds onions = 1 bushel 45 pounds parsnips = 1 bushel 50 pounds potatoes = 1 bushel 60 pounds string beans = 1 bushel 60 pounds sweet potatoes = 1 bushel 48 pounds tomatoes = 1 bushel 196 pounds turnips = 1 barrel 1 gill = ½ cup 1 pottle = 2 quarts 1 coomb = 4 bushels 1 wey = 40 bushels 1 last = 80 bushels 1 firkin = 9 gallons 1 anker = 10 gallons 1 runlet = 18 gallons 1 tierce = 42 gallons 1 hogshead = 63 gallons 1 puncheon = 84 gallons 1 butt = 126 gallons

### I found a recipe that

I found a recipe that directed me to add 2 thoughts of cajyan pepper....what is a thought.....maybe a dash?

### Hi Janel, We have never heard

Hi Janel,
We have never heard of a "thought" measurement. Very interesting! You are probably correct, dashes or pinches make sense.

### TwoThought of cayenne pepper

My grandmother always told me it meant to think twice before you add Cayanne pepper in your ingredients

### What is a fist full. I have a

What is a fist full. I have a recipe that calls for a fist full of flour. What is the equivalent?

### Older recipes, such as before

Older recipes, such as before the late 1800s, often used imprecise measurements. (Fannie Farmer helped to standardize U.S. cooking measurements in the late 1800s.) Many times, a cook would learn a recipe by watching someone else, rather than by reading a cookbook. Experienced cooks knew intuitively how much to add, or found that precise measurements weren't needed in many cases. A pinch, a dash, a fistful or handful, etc., might be common in these recipes. Sometimes cooks today will also use these terms when exact amounts aren't required and it is up to the cook's discretion.

Our best estimate for a fistful of flour is between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup, depending on the size of your hand.

Hope this helps!

### "Fist of sugar" in a pie recipe

Thank you, I greatly appreciate your clarifying "a fist of sugar" for a Swedish pie recipe I printed off from Pinterest. Thank you again.

### Wow, I guess I better be

Wow, I guess I better be careful on trading bushels as it's not an even swap!

You know I've come across some of these terms here and there, never looked 'em up but always wondered what they were.

Interesting ... thanks!