Essentials: Measuring Cups & Spoons

The Essentials:

Measuring cups and spoons and be broken down into two very basic categories: dry and liquid.

Liquid measuring cups tend to be clear, allowing you to measure as you pour, and have markings every ounce, quarter of a cup, milliliter, or all of the above.  There is also usually a break between the top measuring line and the top of the measuring device, allowing you to carry and move liquids around without them splashing over the sides.

They make liquid measuring cups as small as an ounce and as large as you can imagine.  Two cups is a good “essential” to have on hand.  The smaller units of measurement go down as far as ¼ cup, and in larger measuring cups you can’t be certain there will be such small increments.  I also have a problem with space.  There is no place I can store a larger liquid measuring cup to have it on hand very quickly and easily.  As such, it wouldn’t be worth it for me to have it at all, because I would tend to reach for the two-cup one instead of going out of the kitchen to find the larger one.

I have glass and plastic.  I prefer the glass one to the plastic one.  But, the plastic one has a neat trick.  Instead of stooping down to eye-level with the measurements, you can look down into it and see them.

Dry measuring cups tend to be individual pieces.  For a complete essential set, you want ¼ cup, ⅓ cup, ½ cup, and 1 cup.

You can get some that also go smaller than ¼ cup, and you can get some that have ⅔ cup and ¾ cup, but you don’t need those.  I prefer my metal measuring cups to the plastic ones, but I do have both.

Measuring spoons also come in liquid or dry.  The liquid spoons tend to have shallower wells in them, making pouring and measuring liquid easier.

The dry spoons are deeper, more rounded.

I have metal and plastic spoons and prefer the metal.

A good essentials set has ¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon.  Some also have ½ Tablespoon.  A Tablespoon is 3 teaspoons, so it’s nice to have that extra spoon for the recipes that call for 1½ teaspoons of something.

The Extras

This is by no means an essential to the kitchen, but it’s fun.  We found these measuring spoons at a kitchen store.

I use the “nip” to put sugar sprinkles on Santa Clause’s cheeks.

I also have, but forgot to take a picture of, a shot-glass sized measuring cup that measures milliliters.

Another extra, and by no means essential but it certainly makes life in the kitchen easier, is this solids measuring cup.

I wrote about it in detail here, but to sum it up, you’ve never known the ease of measuring honey or butter until you’ve used one of these.

As you can see above, what you need to accurately measure in your kitchen is very simple.  With the essentials, you can measure the ingredients for almost any recipe.  And if you have a grandmother like Sidnie at Green Enough for Me, who writes recipes out with words like, “a dash of this and a smidgen of that,” you can add a couple of extras to your inventory and do just fine.


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