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Old 12-30-2009, 01:10 AM   #11
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Hmmmmm?? Came back to see what was happening here and what sort of response my reply had elicited if any and discovered my reply was gone.....GRRRRR!!

Well, it wasn't really gone........I realized I had written my response in my word processor since it was a long reply and those sometimes get lost if the computer has a hiccup and then never copied it over to this discussion. It looks like there have been several additional comments since I wrote my comments and there is some overlap and duplication. But there may be a little that is new, too, so take the new with the old.

And one question. I thought masa was nothing more than corn flour? Seems like there are a couple of comments that suggest it is more than just that. Am I misunderstanding the definition of masa?

And now the the belated comments:


You probably don't need a scale. Most likely, there is a nutrition label on the masa package that will tel;l you what a serving size is and give the volume and the weight.



As an example, if the label says a serving size is 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) and the weight is 36 grams, then you know that a tablespoon weighs about 9 grams. (36÷4=9 g) Using your information of 590 mg of sodium per 90 grams of masa, then 1/10 of that (9 grams) would be 59 mg of sodium per tablespoon or 118 mg per 2 tablespoons.



I'm not clear about how much masa you are using per tamale??



If you are using two tablespoons for 15 tamales, then each tamale has 118÷15=about 8 mg of sodium.



OK, now for some speculation. The 590 mg /90 g figure immediately raised a question in my mind; but I let it slide to work on the math question I “THOUGHT” you were asking. With an uncomfortable feeling I the back of my mind, I went to the USDA Nutritional Database and confirmed that masa is a relatively low sodium product......nowhere near the figure you quoted and the sodium in 2 tablespoons of masa is negligible. So now I have to start thinking that the figure was for pre-made tamales rather than a scratch version and the figure you posted was for a actual whole tamale.



Now, I have no idea how much sodium there might be in a tamale and different makers might use different amounts of salt and might make different sized tamales so there are a lot of variables here. Back to the USDA for a moment to see if I could get a clue about what is going on??



Plugged tamale into their database and only got one hit. It was for a Navajo tamale. whatever that might be, and the USDA says that 90 grams of Navajo tamale contains 380 mg of sodium. So now I'm thinking your sodium figure is for a finished tamale....a high sodium version of the Navajo tamale since their sodium content is in the same ballpark. Now, I don't know what a tamale weighs and they are going to vary in size, depending; but 90 grams is fairly close to 3 ounces and it is quite possible that “ONE” tamale could weigh 3 ounces. If that is true, then each tamale you are eating contains about 600 mg of sodium regardless of how masa is used!!!!



600 mg of sodium is about 25% of the DV for sodium so it is not an insignificant amount and is probably a serious consideration if you are on a sodium restricted diet.



At this point, I'm not confident that we have enough information to give you a really good answer to your original question so you might want to post a few more details if you want to be confident that we have given you accurate answer.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:27 AM   #12
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And some additional thoughts. I went back and reread the original question and all of the responses and decided my first comments were a little off base. Then I spent a little time nosing around the Internet to see if I could find anything that would help.

As everyone has pointed out, you need to be able to figure out how much a tablespoon of dough weighs before you can get a reasonably accurate answer to your question. Whether you do it by weight or by some volumetric method or find the information on the dough label, getting a decently accurate number will require that piece of information.

As a "VERY" ballpark figure, a tablespoon of basic masa dough is going to weigh in the neighborhood of 15 grams ±. (probably a hair less.) But just for the sake of discussion, lets say 15 grams. Doing the math will compute to a figure of about 100 mg per tablespoon or 200mg of sodium per tamale if you use 2 tablespoons of dough per tamale. (A little less than you figured if I recall correctly.)

Next question would be if you are sure about how much dough you are using? From the information I see on the Internet, tamales can vary widely in size ranging from as few as 4 per pound of masa dough to as many as 15 per pound. !5 per pound would result in a pretty small tamale; but would figure out to just a hair more than 2 TBS per tamale which might match pretty well with your figures if you had a one pound package and used all of it.

So now I guess it would be nice for you to confirm (or not) the above speculation.
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