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Food (Kitchen) Scales

A useful kitchen device is the kitchen scale, also called a food or dietary scale. Used to measure baking/cooking ingredients and food for dietary reasons, it is a quick and convenient way to get accurate amounts.

There are three types of scales. Balance scales (the kind that “Lady of Justice” holds) are large and often difficult to use; they are more for the antique collector than the serious cook. Spring (analog) scales use a needle on a dial to show the amount of weight; generally less expensive, they tend to be more accurate for large amounts and take up more counter space. Digital scales are very accurate, smaller, have easy to read displays, and can have databases and diet tracking programs.

When buying a kitchen scale, some features you should consider are:

  • Parts that are removable, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe.
  • A tare setting that determines the weight of an ingredient without the weight of the bowl. These are quicker and prevent errors from subtraction mistakes.
  • Large, easily seen weight display.
  • Scale resolution and increments as small as 1 or 2 grams for accurate measurement of small amounts.
  • “Add and Weigh” lets you add the right weight of additional ingredients (one at a time) without having to empty the bowl out for each ingredient.

If you are buying a digital model, also consider:

  • Low battery warning light/tone.
  • Automatic turnoff so you don’t accidentally leave it on and waste batteries. Those that let you adjust the amount of time before turning off or have an on/off option might be useful to you.
  • Uses standard batteries so you can easily replace them. A model that also has an AC adapter lets you plug it in instead of using batteries.
  • Built-in databases for common foods so sugar, fat, and calorie information can be displayed. Look for one that lets you supplement the data with food that is not in the database.

Scales also can be used for determining postage or for craft projects such as soap making and candle making.

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