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Jul 16, 2008 05:18 PM

How much is a bunch?

I have a fairly large herb garden. A lot of my recipes call for a bunch of mint (or thyme or basil etc). Is there a rule of thumb as to what constitutes a average bunch? Is a bunch of thyme the same weight as a bunch of rosemary?
Please weigh in on this subject. I thank you in advance - bunches and bunches. `


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  1. I really just sort of wing it - bunches come in different sizes here in NYC, and I just add what I think might be an 'average' sized bunch, and then taste and add more if I think it's needed. Better, of course, to go with a smaller 'bunch' to start. I wouldn't go by weight, and rarely do I see a recipe that calls for a bunch of rosemary - usually it's a number of sprigs.

    7 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth big is a sprig?

      this drives me crazy! Saveur magazine does this constantly. A bunch of spinach? How the hell am I supposed to know what they mean? It's sold by the pound or in a bag here. Bunches of basil are stingy little things as frou-frou shops and large, generous bouquets at the down-home farmers' markets.
      Too many recipes use this non-specific amount.
      Why can't they give a weight or approximate volume measurement?

      1. re: MakingSense

        I think it's time to trust your own judgement on taste then to rely on what weight a bunch might be. Rarely is a recipe ruined when you don't use exact proportions...

        1. re: King of Northern Blvd

          Judgment is fine when it's a minor ingredient but not when it's the main attraction.
          There have been some in food 'zines that gave the main ingredient as "two bunches of spinach" or "a head of cabbage." Those are easy to give by weight, or even volume, although weight is certainly preferable.
          Four apples can weigh one pound or three pounds. That can really screw up a recipe big time.

          Even with herbs, I've got several varieties of the same basic thing. One type of sage has leaves that are an inch long and another has three inch leaves. Big difference. And one is much stronger.

          I've been cooking for a very long time so I can wing most of it, but what do new cooks do? These directions are ridiculous.

          1. re: MakingSense

            What do new cooks do? They learn to trust their own taste and judgement.

        2. re: MakingSense

          A clove of garlic. They range in size from about a half tablespoon to a half teaspoon.


          1. re: MakingSense

            Bunch spinach is the leaf and stems still joined at the root top. Not the bagged leaves. Trimming is often required to prep the spinach before use.

            Recipes calling for bunch spinach intend for you to use the stem/leaf type.

            1 bunch of spinach is about 1 lb. before trimming.

            1. re: ellensu11

              generally /relatively small, as in, smaller than a 'heap' and smaller than a 'mess'; much smaller than a 'nice mess' (as in a 'mess of greens, or a 'nice mess' of greens) which somebody gives you cause they like you a whole bunch.

              Seriously, there is no 'answer'. These are not descriptive terms from engineering or woodworking or large scale restaurant cooking or some other activity that demands exactness/precision. They mean "add some of this, could be alot or a little depending on your taste" and I think the trouble comes because fewer people actually know what their own taste is or they are unfamiliar with the item and how it is often harvested and sold. Most folks, especially older people in the south know what a 'mess' of greens is, and know a 'nice mess' is a slightly bigger amount cause of the way collards and other greens are picked and bundled for sale from farmers and growers. Its not standardized because it isn't supposed to be standardized. Its yours.

        3. No definition. Depends on the size of the recipe and your taste preferences.