Kitchen scales are a valuable tool

Tips for purchasing and using a kitchen scale.

Kitchen scales have come a long way since digital devices emerged. A scale is a valuable kitchen tool and there are a lot of choices available from which to choose. You may wonder why you would want to have a kitchen scale?  They can be handy if you are following a special diet such as a diet for diabetes or weight reduction. You may need to weigh portions of the foods you are eating to accurately follow the diet plan. Recipes that call for specific number of ounces or pounds of ingredients, may or may not require a kitchen scale. There are conversion charts for most ingredients available online, allowing you to convert the measurement into cups and teaspoons. It may take some mathematical calculations to change the measurement from pounds or ounces into cups or teaspoons, but it is doable. Additionally, Food preservation recipes may call for ingredients amounts in pounds or ounces. For example, a salsa recipe I recently prepared, called for 3 pounds of tomatoes, and ¾ pound of peppers. A kitchen scale was very useful for weighing the ingredients for the salsa.

There are advantages to using a kitchen scale. First, is the accuracy of the amount of ingredient. Measuring cups and spoons can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and even by the style of the cup or spoon. Secondly, the person using the tools may also affect the amount of ingredient measured. For example, a level cup means the ingredient is exactly even with the top of the measuring cup. To measure a level cup, a knife is used to scrape off any excess amount of the ingredient, but some cooks do not take the time to follow this procedure. An ingredient measured by a scale is usually more accurate. Food service establishments frequently use recipes that include weight measurements to ensure standardized results of their products for this reason.

Michigan State University Extension has some pointers for purchasing a kitchen scale:

  • Kitchen scales should be easy to keep clean. Since it will be used for measuring foods, it should be smooth and able to be repeatedly cleaned.
  • Avoid scales that have many cracks and crevices where food debris can get stuck and hard to clean out. Always clean your scale after each use.
  • Look for information on the description of the scale to find out the accuracy of the scale.
  •  The measuring device should be easy to read and include increments that are consistent with the type of foods you will want to measure. For example, a food preservation recipe may call for pounds of ingredients. Will the scale be able to measure in pounds? Will the scale allow the measurement of ounces for a baked product?

A kitchen scale is a useful kitchen tool. Shop around before purchasing to be sure your investment in the scale will suit your needs and stand up to years of use.

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