What does it mean to have a well-stocked kitchen? Many would respond that it means having every kind of tool and equipment that can make our cooking and baking easier, more versatile, and quicker. However, even those with several kinds of tools in their kitchen may not know about certain items that might make their experience a lot better.
One of these lesser-known items is scoops. Yes, we have ice-cream scoops, but there are several other kinds that might help us during our cooking or baking projects. Let’s have a look at how to use these scoops:
What Are Food Scoops?
While there are different kinds of scoops for your kitchen, the most common kind are simple food scoops. You may not find these everywhere, but they’re quite useful once you get used to having them.
Regular food scoops look somewhat like a small hand shovel, with a curved body that’s designed to hold a certain amount. You might have seen these in the large ingredient bins at supermarkets, but they’re also great for personal kitchen use. This stainless steel one is usually the supermarket choice, but we have many materials to choose from.
There are two main kinds of scoops to consider here; the manual one and the spring-loaded one. The latter is also known as a cookie scoop, as it allows you to release the sticky batter easily by pressing on the handle. You can also use them for scooping and transferring all kinds of batter, dough, ice cream, and whipped cream.
There are also some models with squeeze handles, which are possible for use by both right-handed and left-handed individuals. Unlike the regular model, which requires one to use their thumb, scoops with squeeze handles simply require pressure. You can easily use your whole hand for this and wipe the bowl clean without much effort.
The manual scoop, which is more like the supermarket kin, is great for scooping out flour, beans, rice, lentils, and other main ingredients. However, it wouldn’t be much use for measuring. If you keep a large store of such ingredients in your home and have to cook in bulk, having a large scoop in each of your storage bins might save a lot of hassle. These are also sometimes called scoop dishers.
Benefits of Using Food Scoops
When you use food scoops in your daily kitchen routine, you may look forward to several benefits. Here are just a few of the most common ones, though they might be different for different cooks and bakers:
- Even Portion Sizes: Among the best uses of food scoops is to make even portions every time. You might not even have to measure the portion exactly as long as it works for you.
- Professional Results: When you scoop out the same amount of cookie dough, you get uniform cookies. This could be a real timesaver if you have to make a lot of cookies on a regular basis. If you’re running a business with your baked goods, having such exact measures will enable you to calculate your costs and profits more accurately.
- Staying Fair: If you’re serving kids, it’s important to know how finicky they can be about getting equal portions of everything. When it comes to something like cookies or ice cream, you can bet they’d want every serving as equal as possible. With the right scoop in hand, you’d be able to appease the children’s sense of fairness. This will also leave you free to decide about unique toppings for dressing up the ice cream.
- Keeping clean: Food scoops of all kinds help to keep your hands away from the food and also limit the mess you can make. This also helps to limit wastage, which will cut your costs by a significant amount in the long run.
- Measuring Nutrients: If you’re on a diet or have to run a food-based business, using scoops to measure your ingredients will be a great help. With the same amount used each time, you can easily calculate the nutrients and calories in each serving. With the ketogenic diet gaining so much popularity, measuring the number of carbs in each dish (and staying consistent with this) is now more essential than ever.
You can probably find food scoops in all kinds of sizes. The perfect sizes for your needs will depend on what you use them for. Below, we’ll take a look at some individual sizes and how one can use them:
- Mini scoop: Some mini scoops hold half a tablespoon, while others might hold a full tablespoon or a little more. In addition to measuring out ingredients, you can use such a scoop for making miniature muffins, mini cupcakes, melon balls, protein balls, energy balls, etc.
- Medium scoop: A medium scoop will hold about 1.75 tablespoons or perhaps a bit more than this. The size is perfect for scooping out the same amount of cookie dough, pancake batter, and even meatballs for your spaghetti. The result will be that your dishes turn out looking professional and neat every time.
- Large scoop: People might have different definitions of what constitutes a large food scoop. However, we’ll assume that this holds around 3.5 to 4 tablespoons. You can use this one for serving ice cream, mashed potatoes, rice, and also ensure a regular size of muffins or cupcakes. When working with a relatively expensive option like guacamole, having a uniform scoop is a blessing.
The sizes above are by no means an exhaustive picture of the food scoops you can have. Your final choice will depend on your usage, so think about what you’d need a scoop for before ordering any.
When we’re working with food scoops, we might notice that most of them have color-coded handles and a number somewhere. This means that the scoop is part of a numbering and color-coded stem that allows the user to differentiate between them.
In a nutshell, the size of your food scoop is based on how many scoops it will take to fill a whole quart or 32 ounces. Every size has its own number and color, though they might vary according to the brand you get.
Food Scoop Materials
When you’re selecting your food scoops, make sure to get food-grade materials at all times. Whether you use these tools with hot food or not, this precaution is necessary for the type of work they’re meant for. Below are just some of the material we can find with food scoops:
- Stainless steel: Whether we’re talking about ice cream scoops, cookie scoops, or scoop dishers, stainless steel is one of the best materials you can go for. It won’t leach toxins even when used with hot food items and it’s also easy to maintain.
- Plastic: While it’s not always the best choice, you might need to get a BPA-free plastic scoop for your various needs. This choice is also nice, as it won’t crack or break easily. Plus, it will probably be cheaper than the solid stainless steel options.
- Wood: It is possible to use wood as a material for your food scoopers, but you’d have to keep an eye out for mold or wet spots.
- Silicone: This is a durable option and also a safe one for use with heated food. However, there have been complaints about silicone scoops slipping and shaking.
If you haven’t heard about the various uses of scoops until now, there’s no need to worry. We all know that measuring ingredients is important, and these scoops are another way to perform this step. They also have many other uses, so it might be a good idea to get a set for yourself.