Measuring in “Parts”
The Essential Herbal, Sept/Oct '10
Often people have a difficult time converting recipes from “parts” into a more familiar standard of measurement. Once it is understood, it is a very freeing way of communicating a recipe. I generally assume that parts refers to measurement by volume, but it can also refer to weight in some cases.
Let’s take a recipe for an herbal tea blend:
2 parts chamomile
1 part raspberry leaf
½ part peppermint
If we exchange the word part(s) with cup(s), the recipe would translate to:
2 cups chamomile
1 cup raspberry leaf
½ cup peppermint
But perhaps we would like to only make a small amount in order to see if we like it. In that case, we could exchange part(s) for teaspoon(s), translating to:
2 t chamomile
1 t raspberry leaf
½ t peppermint
In this way, a part can be any type of container which is then used as a unit of measurement. Shot glass, Dixie cup, quart deli container, gallon, 5 gal bucket, bushel, barrel, truckload – anything at all!
This works for dried herbs, liquids, and just about anything that one would like to blend.
In the recipe given above, exchanging “part” for “pound” (or other weight unit) is not appropriate because a pound of peppermint is smaller in volume than the chamomile or raspberry leaf. When we create a formula that we intent to use parts by weight, we note that specifically when writing the recipe down.