Where Size Really Matters: Kitchen Canisters

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How many ounces are in a pound? I'm trying to order canisters for 5 pounds of sugar and flour but they all list ounces.

One of the great challenges in life, as far as we're are concerned, is getting canisters that are big enough to hold meaningful amounts of sugar, flour, rice, cake flour, pasta, bread flour, etc. It's not as big a deal as where to hold the next Olympics, but it's up there pretty far. We understand that not everyone has unlimited counter space (indeed, another of life's challenges is having enough free counter space to roll out a decent dough for sticky buns), but having a couple thimble-sized canisters of often-used ingredients on the counter is no practical help. What's the point of putting ingredients in a canister if you have to refill the canister after every use?

In answer to your question, there are 16 ounces in a pound. So you would need canisters capable of holding 80 ounces to swallow up your bags of sugar and flour. But it's not that simple, because the amount of space dry ingredients take up is not related to their weight. So canisters that are measured in ounces are particularly useless.

Most of the canisters we come across are measured in quarts, although Tupperware products are measured in cups. Still isn't much help, is it? There are approximately 11.5 cups (or three quarts) of sugar or rice in a 5 pound bag. There are approximately 16 cups (or four quarts) of flour in a 5 pound bag. Pasta comes in too many shapes, sizes, and densities for us to attach a certain weight to a given volume, so just assume you need fairly large canisters to hold your pasta.

We'll get down off our soap box now, but if you think we're insanely passionate about the size of our canisters, don't even get us started on gravy boats — all of which are too small!