Measuring Cups: 4 Things to Know Before You Buy

December 10, 2013

Measuring Cups: 4 Things to Know Before You Buy


Measuring cups are essential when accuracy is necessary in a recipe. Although you might be able to get away with a pinch of this and a splash of that in some dishes, in others, baking in particular, you need to be precise if your recipe is going to work out. Measuring cups are an essential basic tool for every kitchen. These days, there are lots of tempting choices when it comes to measuring cups.

Measure the various features of the wide variety of measuring cups available to find the ideal ones for your kitchen and cooking style.

1. Types

Two main types of measuring cups exist. Because wet and dry foods possess differing volume measurements, there are cups calibrated for liquid ingredients and those designed to measure dry foods. In recipes that call for precision, such as breads and cakes, it is important to use the right type of measuring cup.

Dry measuring cups come in sets that include a 1/8, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup. They are usually made of plastic or metal and have a handle. The measurement for each cup ends at the top of the cup, so you can level off with ingredients for an accurate measurement.

Liquid measuring cups are generally one unit and come in various capacities, such as one-cup, two-cup and four-cup, although there are also very large liquid measuring cups with an 8-cup volume or more. Such cups come in a pitcher type shape with a spout for easy pouring and are a clear glass or plastic so you can see when you’ve reached the correct level.

Most liquid measuring cups are microwaveable, which is helpful when a recipe calls for hot liquids.

Considering the fact that you will most likely cook with wet and dry ingredients, it’s a good idea to get both types of cups, or invest in one of the new models on the market that measures both.

2. Materials

Measuring cups come in a variety of materials, and each has its advantages.

Stainless steel measuring cups are used for dry ingredients. Sturdy enough to last a lifetime, they resist staining and scratching, looking like new for years. They also don’t absorb odors. In terms of accuracy, they work very well, as they are usually easy to read. Stainless steel cups should be hand washed to keep them looking their best.

Plastic measuring cups are made for dry and wet ingredients, with those used for wet ingredients being transparent. Because plastic is porous, over time these cups can absorb odors and stain. Plastic is also not heat resistant, unless you buy cups made from silicone. They are usually dishwasher safe, however.

Glass measuring cups are generally made for wet ingredients and can handle hot liquids. Glass is not porous, so it absorbs no odors and rarely stains. They are dishwasher and oven safe and easy to read.

3. Storage Capabilities

Steel and plastic measuring cups have the space saving capability of being stackable, which makes it easy to fit them into a drawer. If space is especially tight, invest in a set of collapsible measuring cups which take up very little room.

In glass measuring cups, there are multi-cup capacity models with lids that enable you to mix up entire recipes in the cup and then cover the contents for easy storage.

4. Time-Saving Features

Various new innovations in measuring cups save you time in the kitchen, such as angled measuring cups for liquid ingredients. These possess a ring in the interior that enables you to look straight down into the cup as you pour, which avoids you having to bend over to check for accuracy at eye level and then remove liquid if you’ve over-poured.

Save time removing sticky ingredients such as honey from measuring cups by using an adjustable measuring cup. You adjust the cup to the desired measurement and then fill and turn a knob that activates a plunger, which pushes every last drop out in one fluid movement.

Now that you know what’s available in measuring cups, you can make an accurate decision as to what cups will best fit your kitchen and enhance your recipes.

Julie Bawden-Davis




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