Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart

Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 in A frugal Life, Health, Smart Shopper | 36 comments

vegetable measure - cup equivalentDo you know how many celery stalks you need for 1 cup chopped celery? Or how many cups of lettuce in 1 head of Romaine? This vegetable measure – cup equivalent chart provides the answers.

By all accounts we will be paying more for all fruits and vegetables this year. With the Canadian dollar trading at $0.74 compared to the US dollar and with much of our produce imported from south of the border Canadians especially will be caught by the price increase.

Comparison shopping is one of the best ways to find the best buy but how can you do that when you can’t compare sizes? Fresh produce is sold by the pound or kilogram; frozen produce is sold by the ounce or gram while canned goods are sold by ounce or millilitre. Trying to figure out the best deal using those measurements is a bit of a nightmare.

The vegetable measure – cup equivalent chart takes the guesswork out of comparing. Once you know the size equivalent in cups it becomes much easier to compare prices and find the best buy.

Example, I gathered prices for fresh, canned and frozen beans and easily worked out the best price using cup equivalency: 1 lb fresh green beans @ $3.49/lb = 3 cups or $1.17/cup;  15 1/2 oz. can of green beans @ $1.79 = 2 cups or $0.90/cup and 750g frozen green beans @ $2.97 = 5 cups or $0.60/cup. Easy to calculate and see that in this case, the frozen green beans is the best buy.

There is one other advantage to knowing the cup equivalents: Since recipes usually call for cup measurements of vegetables, knowing the cup equivalent let’s you know exactly how much you need, thereby eliminating waste and saving you money.

Because there is such a variance in the size of vegetables the cup equivalent is not exact but is close enough to provide a base for comparison.  The vegetable cup equivalent shown is for trimmed and chopped vegetables unless otherwise noted.

 

 

Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart

ASPARAGUS

1 lb/450g: 12-15 large/16-20 small spears

14-16 oz/398-455ml: 12-18 spears

10 oz/280g

16 oz/450g

FRESH

CANNED

FROZEN

FROZEN

3 Cups

2 Cups

1¼ Cup

2 Cups

BEANS

1 lb/450g: 30 to 40 beans

15 1/2 oz/440ml

14 oz/400g

1¾ lb/750g

FRESH

CANNED

FROZEN

FROZEN

3 Cups

2 Cups

1¾ Cups

5 Cups

BEETS, Superfood

1 lb./450g: 5 medium

16 oz/455ml

FRESH

CANNED

2½  Cups

2 Cups

BROCCOLI, Superfood

   

1 lb/450g Florets

1 Medium Bunch, chopped stalks and florets

10 oz/280g

16 oz/450g

FRESH

FRESH

FROZEN

FROZEN

2 Cups

3½ Cups

1¼ Cups

2 Cups

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 lb/450g: 28 to 36 sprouts

10 oz/280g

FRESH

FROZEN

4 Cups

2 Cups

CABBAGE

1 HEAD = 2 lbs/900g Shredded

1 lb/450 g Shredded

1 lb. Cooked

FRESH

FRESH

FRESH

8 Cups

4 Cups

2 Cups

CARROTS

1 lb/450g: 6-7 medium or 4 very large

1 lb/450g grated

1 lb/450 g pureed

16 0z/455ml

FRESH

FRESH

FRESH

CANNED

3 Cups

2½  Cups

1½ Cups

2 Cups

CAULIFLOWER

 1 medium HEAD = 2 lbs/900g Florets

1 lb/450g Florets

16 oz/450g

FRESH

FRESH

FROZEN

1½ Cups

3 Cups

4 Cups

CELERY

1 Bunch = 1 lb/450g = 8-10 stalks

2 medium stalks, no leaves

FRESH

FRESH

4 Cups

1 Cup

CORN

2 medium EARS husked, kernels

12 0z/350ml kernels

16 0z/454ml creamed

10 0z/280g kernels

16 oz/450g kernels

FRESH

CANNED

CANNED

FROZEN

FROZEN

1¼ Cups

1½ Cups

2 Cups

1¼ cup

2 cups

KALE, Superfood

1 lb/450 g raw leaves

1 lb cooked

15 0z/427ml

10 oz/280g

FRESH

FRESH

CANNED

FROZEN

6 Cups

1½ cups

1¼ cup

1¼ cup

LEEKS

1 lb/450g: 2 large or 3 medium

1 lb cooked

FRESH

FRESH

2 cups

1 Cup

LETTUCE

ICEBERG, 1 medium Head, torn

ROMAINE, 1 medium Head, torn

LEAF, 1 bunch, torn

FRESH

FRESH

FRESH

6-8 Cups

5-7 cups

4-6 cups

ONIONS

COOKING – 1 lb/450g =4-5 medium

GREEN – 1 bunch of 4-6 – 1/4 lb/112g

FRESH

FRESH

2-3 cups

½ cup

PARSNIPS

1 lb/450g = 4 medium FRESH

2 Cups

PEAS, Green

1 lb/450g in pod

16 oz/445ml

10 oz/280g

16 oz/450g

FRESH

CANNED

FROZEN

FROZEN

1 Cup

2 Cups

1 2/3 Cup

2 Cups

PEPPERS, Sweet Bell

1 lb/450g = 4 medium or 3 large

10 oz/280g

FRESH

FROZEN

3-4 Cups

2¼ cups

POTATOES, White

1 lb/450g = 3-4 medium = 4 Cups raw = 3 Cups cooked = 2 Cups mashed =          2 Cups French fries

1 Medium Potato = 1/2 cup mashed = 1/3 Cup instant potato flakes

1 lb/450 g New potatoes = 9-12 small ones

RUTABAGA

1 Medium = 2-3 lbs/90og-1.350kg FRESH

5 Cups, Cubed

SPINACH, Superfood

1 lb/450g, torn

1 lb/450g cooked

15 oz/420ml

10 oz/280g

FRESH

FRESH

CANNED

FROZEN

10 Cups

1 Cup

1¼ cup

1½ cup

TOMATOES, Superfood

   

1 lb/450g = 3 medium or 2 large

28 oz/784ml

FRESH

CANNED

3 Cups

2 Cups, drained

ZUCCHINI

   

1 lb/450g = 6 small or 3 medium

10 oz/280g

FRESH

FROZEN

2 Cups

1½ cups

     

We know there are a great many health benefits provided by a vegetable rich diet, therefore produce should remain affordable for everyone. This “Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart will help to do just that.

Talk to you again next week,

Lenie

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36 Comments

  1. You know Lenie, I can’t help but wonder, are frozen veggies always the way to go in regards to cost? Personally, I buy all three only because not everything tastes as good to me in all ways. Of course fresh beats all taste tests! Thanks for this helpful idea.

    • Patricia, frozen vegetables are NOT always the best buy and that’s why it helps to be able to compare prices. Fresh is usually best but even that depends on seasonal availability. There are many times when ‘fresh’ (good example, tomatoes in winter) doesn’t compare to canned or frozen. Personally I don’t care for or buy many canned vegetables, kale, spinach and tomatoes being the exceptions and generally prefer frozen over canned. The other thing is how you’re going to be using the product – if canned is the best price for a product to be used in a stew or soup, then I would buy the canned.

  2. This is great, Lenie. I do notice that you get more when you buy frozen, plus it is cut and ready to go. I buy frozen in the winter months mostly. In the spring, summer, and fall, I like to eat from my garden. =) Interesting though to see the actual cost savings. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sabrina, I’m with you as to preferring things from the garden but here we only have about 5 months of actual growing conditions, which means 7 months of imported products. Unfortunately those are the expensive ones so the more ways we can find to cut those costs the better for the bottom line.

  3. What a handy chart Lenie! I’ve often wondered about this while standing in a grocery store, trying to figure out how much of a vegetable to buy for a recipe that calls for it in cups. Thank you for sharing, I’m sure I’ll be referring back to this post often!

    • Meredith, I replaced the chart you saw. I don’t know how that one ended up on my site but it was pretty difficult to read. I replaced it with a much cleaner version. Anyway, as you I always appreciate your comments. Hope the chart will be useful to you.

  4. Lenie, you are amazing. Have personally never thought about measuring vegetables that way. Smart and I’m delighted I buy iceberg sallad:-)

    • Catarina, there is still something weird going on with my site. I don’t know if you received the reply to your comment but it sure didn’t show up here. Anyway, I really am pleased with your nice comment. I love figuring things out and comparing cups instead of different measures makes life so much easier.

  5. This is brilliant Lenie! This is one of those things anyone who ever cooks runs into and your guidelines will really help to save time as well as resources. Thank you!

    • Thanks Marquita – I’m glad you like the list. My main reason for making it up was for comparison – so readers could have an easy way to compare all those different sizes and with that keep costs down. The prices here are increasing and the other day I saw a head of iceberg lettuce for $3.49. I don’t know about prices in Hawaii but it definitely was way overpriced – normally it would sell around $1.49. Obviously I didn’t buy it. Instead found a cabbage at 59 cents a pound for a total cost of $1.23.

  6. Hi,Lenie

    You are fantastic. Many never thought about size when comparing prices of vegetables.

    I don’t like canned vegetables because most of the nutrients have been destroyed. In the spring, summer, and fall, I like to eat fresh vegetables. When the fresh ones are not available, I will buy the frozen.

    Will keep the list for comparison.

    Nice week ahead!

    • Hi Stella, I’m glad you like this post. I prefer fresh produce when possible,especially what I grow myself because that is the only real way of knowing that they’re truly organic with no harmful sprays. Of course I freeze as much as I’m able and am still eating kale, tomatoes and herbs I grew last summer. But when you have to buy stuff, then it’s good to know how to compare.
      You have a wonderful week ahead too.

  7. This is very helpful. I tend to not be that exact in most of my measurements and generally estimate that one onion or tomato or bell pepper when chopped equals one cup. Other things I just try to eyeball. Doubt that I’m that accurate.

    • Ken, for me it’s more a cost factor. After having had a large household and now being with just the two of us it makes it tricky to buy small so I often ended up with more than I could use fresh. With this I can easily figure out whether fresh or frozen is the smarter buy.

  8. This a wonderful list that I am going to print and stick to the front of my fridge. I go back and forth between buying fresh or frozen veggies. Now that I grocery stop every other week, I am using a bit more frozen, but flash freezing methods make many taste almost as good as fresh. I have stopped buying fresh blueberries entirely. Even with the rate I go through them, they got fuzzy mold on them too often. I know buy wild frozen ones. They taste better than the larger blueberries and are definitely more cost effective.

    • Jeri, I’ve been reading up on frozen vs. fresh and there really is very little difference in nutrients so I don’t feel bad when I buy frozen and the thing with that is that you can remove just what you need at the time. With fresh, there is definitely a time-frame for use. (This may be the time for you to start thinking about adding a few blueberry bushes to your garden)

  9. I will keep this handy for the next time I try a new recipe with fresh vegetables. I always just completely guess when a recipe calls for, let’s say, a pound of broccoli. I don’t have a food scale so I just try to estimate what I have based on how much I paid (since fresh veggies are usually sold by the pound.) This will help me translate into cups the next time I have a recipe. Thanks!

    • Erica, I think you will find it handy exactly for the reason you stated. At least it gives you options. When you mentioned a food scale, I have one and I once decided to see how accurate packaged weights were and out of 10 items, two were underweight – one by not enough to worry about but one enough that I returned it to the store. They couldn’t believe I had checked the weight.

  10. Lenie, I’ve saved this to my food file! What a great tool to have on hand. I may have to cart it along to the store with me, too. Maybe I can train my eyes to see the sizes at first glance.

    • Hi RoseMary – It is a handy little guide, isn’t it? I find it especially useful for 1 or 2 member households. A 5 lb. bag of carrots may be on sale but if you’re not going to be using them before they go bad it’s no longer a saving, right? I hate waste – must go back to my childhood when we were told ‘there are millions of kids who would love to have what you’re eating”. LOL

  11. Lenie – I’m printing this out and it’s going in my recipe folder. A terrific aid. You always write interesting and useful posts. Thanks!

    • Hi Jeannette, thanks for the nice comment. I find knowing the cup equivalent really handy – nice not to get the measuring cup out when you’re trying a new soup recipe that starts with a cup of celery or carrots. Little things that do end up making life a little easier.

  12. What a nice gift you gave us with this chart, Lenie. I’d never seen one before and it’s really convenient. Too often I overbuy because I’m not sure how much is needed. While I can find other uses for the veggies, I’d rather have the right amount. I love to cook with fresh veggies but occasionally use frozen.

  13. I have never used cups to measure, partly because I wonder what size cup is classed as the norm. Instead I use good old fashioned scales.

    Though I prefer fresh vegetables, I also buy frozen vegetables. It is more economical as they last longer.

    Great tips as per usual!

  14. I know that I don’t get nearly enough vegetables in my diet. I need to change that up asap. This tool will definitely help.

  15. Great info for me! Especially the way I cook…ie batch cook up a bunch of meals and freeze them. I always would wonder if a recipe called for a cup of chopped celery, how much do I really need to buy? Now I will know! I will buy frozen produce over canned, except like you said, some things like diced tomatoes etc that I have just never found frozen anywhere! Of course my favorite produce is in the summer and from my garden. That is when I REALLY know where it came from and that it hasn’t been subjected to a bunch of pesticides. I did a “cooking” weekend last week and I have enough meals in my freezer to last till the about the end of February, all on about $160 of grocery shopping. And very little waste. Gotta like that!

    • Good morning Nancy – I’m glad you’re going to find the chart useful. I love the way you do the weekend cooking blitz – a lot of work at the time but how nice to be able to grab your meal from the freezer when you want.
      You’ll be interested in next week’s post – it’s about which organic food label really means something. A lot of them are just creative marketing so your comment about knowing where it really comes from is so timely.
      I sometimes think you should be the one writing the ‘frugal’ posts.

  16. Hi Lenie, your posts are always so helpful. This one in particular, especially for someone who doesn’t cook a lot, will be extremely beneficial. There nothing more annoying than looking at a bag of frozen veggies and wondering how many cups that would be, or how many bunches of celery you need for 4 cups. Once you’ve cooked for a long time it becomes old hat, but for newbies it is hard.

    • Hi Susan, I knew you wouldn’t need the chart. Like you say – newbies (and singles) will probably benefit the most as it will help them buy only what they need and compare the different prices to get the best deal. I’ve used it mostly for comparing prices – it works really well there.

  17. Well, Lenie, it seems that those impending food price increases you’ve been warning us about are coming to pass. Store-brand English muffins and cereal have recently undergone large price increases at my local Vons and Walmart, respectively. Produce-wise, I am a voracious consumer of fresh fruit: while you keep your eye on the vegetable front, I’ll be watching the price of Granny Smith apples like a hawk.

    • I may be a bit of a cynic but doesn’t it seem odd that the price of fruits and vegetables is going up at a time when we are becoming more aware of their nutritional value? Business used to operate on the supply and demand principle but I don’t believe that’s the case any longer – I think it has changed to demand and greed principle. The other day lettuce was $3.49 a head at Walmart – do you have any idea how easy it is to grow lettuce? I can grow it inside on my windowsill so there is no excuse for that price. Anyway, you keep watching those apples, buy them when they’re on sale and start making apple crisp LOL

      • Lenie, you are right about the demand and greed part of pricing. If you cut the supply to less than what the demand is you can get a higher price,so don’t produce as much as you can. It is a system that can be and is manipulated to ensure the biggest profit. You will never see supply actually meet the demand. The oil and gas industry is a prime example of that. Sometimes with food, weather conditions play a big part in it too, like the weather in California and Florida for our produce in the winter months. With food, most of the time it is the “middle man” that makes the big profits, not the farmers. I like your idea of growing lettuce inside!

        • Nancy, you should check out this post: http://frugalforeveryone.ca/microgreens-superfoods-you-grow-indoors/ It’s easy and fun. I haven’t got any going right now because we’re putting new flooring down and I can’t use my dining table or window. But I’ve grown all kinds of salad stuff inside – and a bonus. Because of the good soil I used I emptied the microgreens containers in my raised beds and got a free crop of lettuce and spinach in late Spring. Of course, both of that you cut and it grows again so lots of free food.

          • Love it and will try it! How did I miss this post before? I have been reading them for a while now!

          • That one was done before you know about my blog. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  18. This is very useful, especially since I just started my diet. This means I am eating much more vegetables, so this will be handy for me.
    Thanks for sharing.