What is “Tare” on Kitchen Scales and Why Does it Matter


Photo by xw7229525

I often wonder what the word ‘tare’ means and what the tare” button on the kitchen scale is used for. I notice it on the scale in our kitchen, and on the bigger scale in the supermarket. Anyhow, from what I have observed so far, tare is like ‘zero.’ I’m not so sure though what it is for and how it is used.

So, what is “tare” on kitchen scales, and why does it matter? When weighing something that must be placed in a container, the tare function can subtract the weight of the container to show only the weight of the object in the container. It is also used in weighing different ingredients individually as you put them in the container, as in following a recipe. The required weight of each ingredient will be determined when you place it in the container because the tare button can be reset to zero every time you put in a new ingredient to be weighed.

Knowing how to use the scale to our advantage matters a lot as we sometimes need to get the weight of an object or something important.  It may be a simple one such as getting your weight. You simply step on your digital bathroom scale, and your weight reading instantly shows on the LCD display.

But then things can get complicated when weighing different kinds of ingredients for a recipe, and then having to determine the exact weight of those ingredients to follow the instructions in the recipe book.  That is just one scenario where the tare functionality can make the weighing process easier and more accurate.  And there are numerous other cases where multiple weighing can be a challenge, and that using the tare function will make it so much easier.

If you are not familiar with weighing scales, you may be confused about when to use the “Zero” key and the “Tare” key.  You don’t know, but you may want to try to figure it out by yourself. So, you hit the zero key, and you will see it reset to zero.  Next, you hit the tare button and see it do the same thing.  It resets to zero. They may show the same results by just doing that, but the difference lies in when to use each of them properly.

When the ‘Zero” Key is Used:

The zero key is used whenever an adjustment or calibration needs to be done to set the scale back to its actual zero state.  It could be any minor adjustment or when, for some reason, the scale starts to give inaccurate results.

Possible causes or reasons why the scale deviates from its true zero may be due to one of the following:

  1. The build-up of dirt or traces of materials on the scale pan that have not been detected or wiped clean
  2. The scale may have been damaged, for example, something really heavy accidentally dropped on the scale
  3. The scale has been subjected to weigh objects that weigh far more than its capacity

When the “Tare” Key is Used:

Depending on what you are weighing, it can be directly placed on the scale pan, or it will have to be in a container, such as liquid or powdery substances. For instance, when you have to weigh milk, it should be in a container.

To determine the weight of the liquid substance alone, first you need to place its container on the scale pan, hit the tare button, and the reading automatically resets to zero. When you place the liquid on the container, it will now show the weight of that liquid.  The weight of the container has already been zeroed out to get the reading for the liquid substance alone.

A few advanced or commercial models of weighing scales have a handy feature that enables the user to pre-program a tare.  It is convenient and more efficient for repetitive weighing.

A Few Conveniences When Using the Scale’s Tare Function

  1. Gets the weight of the ingredient alone without the weight of the container.
  2. Weighs multiple ingredients required in a recipe.
  3. Following a diet in which the weight of the food should be determined
  4. Taking the hassle out of calculating for the weight since the tare function can quickly show the weight without you having to compute for it.
  5. In cooking, baking, and following recipes, the tare function of the scale will allow you to get the exact weight of each of the ingredients to be used without having to take out and use your measuring cups and cleaning them afterward. Whew!

To be certain that you are doing the tare function correctly, and that it stays accurate, you should not forget one very important thing. 

You should always keep in mind that you are decreasing the tared weight of the container from the scale’s total weighing capacity. Let’s say the weighing capacity of the scale is up to 2,000 grams; that is, it cannot provide an accurate reading beyond 2,000 grams. So, if the container to be tared weighs 300 grams, it will leave you with 1,700 grams of weighing capacity. Remember that the total weight of the container and the item or items weighed must not go over the weighing capacity of the scale. 

How the ‘Tare’ Function Works in a Mechanical Scale

You may be wondering if a mechanical scale can perform a tare function. Mostly for mechanical scales with triple beam balance, the tare bar can slide towards the left or right to do a tare reading of up to a specific range of weights. After doing the weighing, the tare bar should be returned to its original position, and the tare weight scaled back to zero.

What People Say About the Benefits of Using a Kitchen Scale

Less dirty dishes to clean or none at all: You don’t need to take out your measuring cups, measuring spoons, bowls, and other kitchen stuff required to do all the measuring, pouring, and cleaning.  Using a digital scale streamlines the workflow and allows you to have more energy and time to enjoy the food preparation and cooking.

Less time spent in the kitchen: To put it another way, you gain extra time for yourself that could be spent doing other equally important things. You have more time on your hands. You could do some yoga meditation to release stress, take a power nap, or chill out and savor your ‘me’ time.

Baking becomes more successful and spot-on: Your baked goods will turn out perfect because weighing ingredients is more accurate and faster to do:  Baking entails accuracy in the measurement of ingredients, the right temperature, and the ideal length of cooking time.  Getting the required amount of ingredients with measuring cups and spoons cannot be as exact or precise as with kitchen scales.  

The reason is that measuring utensils may be slightly different in shapes and sizes, or they do not usually conform to set standards. Baking requires precision, and that seemingly insignificant deviation could have a profound effect on the outcome of the baked goods.

Makes measuring and weighing stuff easier: Some ingredients and foodstuffs are quite challenging to measure, and the scale can make the job much easier.

Makes dieting and weight management easier: Having to lose weight or gain weight is a health concern that should be addressed. A dependable and accurate scale can make that happen. It takes the rough edges out of following health routines.

It may be a unnecessary to feature the latest batch of digital scales as they may be easier and more fun to do on the web by just googling it.  They could have similar features and have integrated the same innovations. On the other hand, it is quite irresistible to point out the outstanding features some new models have. It may just be the exact same features we have always hoped for in our digital kitchen scales.

Here are some of the nice features to have for our digital kitchen scale

  • Stainless Steel casing or body that is smudge and fingerprint-resistant
  • A removable platform for convenient cleaning
  • Pull-Out display to prevent shadowing from large plates or bowls
  • Unit conversion button to measure in oz, lb. or kg
  • Easy to read display features that have large digital numbers with optional backlight
  • A convenient meter showing how much of the scale’s weighing capacity remains

We know that eating nutritious foods has a profound positive impact on our overall health and wellness. To enjoy the most benefits from these foods, some require certain preparation, type of cooking, length of cooking time, or whether it can be raw or not. Having the proper kitchen gadgets will contribute a lot to streamline the process and preserve its curative and nourishing properties.  The right devices can make it easier, more accurate, and less of a hassle.

Fifteen Gadgets for Food Preparation and Processing

We know exactly the things we need for food preparation and cooking.  That is why we have those gadgets, utensils, appliances and other conveniences in our kitchen.  Let’s list down a few of the major ones as a reminder.

1. Chef’s Knife

If you already have a few knives that you regularly use in the kitchen, make sure that you also include the most versatile one: the Chef’s Knife.  It’s not called that for no reason, and we all know that chefs are the gurus when it comes to what kitchen tools are best and how to use them effectively and creatively.  A Chef’s Knife can chop, slice, mince and do much more without having to change tools each time. Stainless steel knives are good to have because they are durable and don’t get rusty.

2. Cutting Board

Most food preparation involves cutting and chopping, and these are done on a chopping board for safety and sanitary considerations. Plastic cutting boards were once thought to be safer than wood because it is not porous like wood. 

However, according to studies done on this issue, wood is found to be safer than plastic even though it is porous.  The bacteria simply get lodged down under the wooden cutting board’s surface where they can’t multiply, and eventually die out.

It is a different story with the plastic board. After being used for some time, the plastic sustains grooves from the knife where bacteria get caught or trapped. The knife grooves are difficult to clean out either by hand or the dishwasher. Which means the bacteria may still be there no matter how often or how well you clean the chopping board.

3. Measuring Cups and Spoons

An efficient kitchen should always have a set of measuring tools handy, such as measuring spoons and cups. They are essential when following a recipe, and also for measuring out food and ingredients. Although your kitchen may already have an analog or digital weighing scale, it is still advisable to have them to make your kitchen fully equipped.

4. Kitchen Shears

An efficient kitchen should always have a set of measuring tools handy, such as measuring spoons and cups. They are essential when following a recipe, and also for measuring out food and ingredients. Although your kitchen may already have an analog or digital weighing scale, it is still advisable to have them to make your kitchen fully equipped.

5. Colander

Using a colander is the best and easiest way to drain foods like pasta. You can even let it stay in the colander for a while to make it fully drain. Washing fruits and vegetables placed in the colander is also much easier to do.

6. Can Opener

Although some juices, sodas, and mild liquors are packaged in pull-tabs that don’t need a can opener, there are other comestibles or foodstuff that are contained in tin cans which should be opened with a can opener. Examples are corned beef, tuna, sardines, juices, and fruits contained in tin cans. Can openers may be manually operated or electric ones.  It can be portable, placed on the kitchen countertop, or installed on the wall or under the top kitchen cabinet.

7. Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls are great not only for mixing ingredients and food, it can also be used as a container to marinate meat, chicken, or fish, and for baking.

8. Grater and/or 4-Sided Stainless Steel Cheese Grater

Graters are used for processing cheese into smaller bits, thin or thick slices, as well as shredding vegetables like potatoes, zucchini, or zesting citrus fruits. It is an important tool to have in the kitchen since it processes vegetables, fruits, and cheeses to be added in a variety of meals and recipes. 

Or you may opt for a four-sided stainless steel grater, also called a box cheese grater, which is used to shred or grate cheese, vegetables, and spices. Each side of the box grater has a different size and configuration of its cutting holes. Generally, one side is for medium-size grating, one for smaller-size, the third one for grating spiky edges, and the fourth one for slicing. The box grater can also be used to grate and shred other foodstuffs and ingredients.

9. Whisk

There are many kinds of whisks that are used in the kitchen for preparing ingredients and food, like batter for the recipe, eggs, liquid ingredients, to name a few.  There are several types of whisks for a variety of usage and it is always an advantage to have a good collection of them.

10. Kitchen Tongs

The kitchen tong is a generic term for tongs specifically used for handling foods. There are different types of kitchen tongs for specific kinds of foods. It is the best tool to grip and lift, and sometimes manipulate, food instead of holding them directly with the hands.

Basically, tongs have long “arms” or handles that are joined at their ends like a joint, the handle part, or pivot end.  The other two ends are free and act like a pair of grips or claws. Kitchen tongs are used not only to take hold of food, lift it and transfer it from the serving bowl to the plate but also in cooking.  It lets you maneuver the foods more skillfully and carefully because of its better grip, more like the human hand.

11. Rolling Pin

If baking is one of your passions, and you enjoy making pies and pizzas, you should have the best kind of rolling pin in your kitchen.  It is needed to make doughs, crusts for pies and pizzas, and cookies for the holidays. Make sure to get a rolling pin with a length that is enough for the usual size of dough you make.  

12. Rubber Spatulas

A rubber spatula is a kitchen implement that works great for scraping the contents out of food containers such as bowls and pans, without damaging or scratching the surface. It is also used for stirring, folding, and blending mixtures like batters. There are high-heat resistant silicone or rubber spatulas for more rugged usage.

13 Large Metal or Plastic Colander

A colander is a kitchen utensil, either made of plastic or steel, with perforations to clean and strain foodstuffs such as cooked pasta, vegetables, fruits, and many others. The food is placed in the colander, then placed under running water from the kitchen sink faucet, and then dried. The water simply drains out through the perforations while the food stays in the colander. Colanders are available in plastic, silicone, ceramic, and light metals such as aluminum and stainless steel.

14 Carbon Steel Wok

A carbon steel wok in your kitchen can be a valuable addition to your collection of cookware for many reasons.  If you want your Chinese recipe and cuisines to be cooked the Chinese way, then the wok is for you. If you want your frying pan to cook evenly, the carbon steel material version of woks distributes heat more evenly than other pan materials. If doing your stir-frying can get messy with the tossed foods landing somewhere other than in the frying, where it should fall, then this traditional Chinese cookware is really for you.

15 Air-Tight Food Storage Container

Not all food and ingredients can be stored in the fridge, in the freezer, or just left on the kitchen counter. Some food should be kept in air-tight food containers to prevent them from going bad. Pastas, grains, rice, and flour are some food that need to be stored in air-tight food containers.

That stated, invest in a few food storage containers that have lids to keep them air-tight. Clear storage containers like glass and clear plastic will make it easier to tell what’s in it, at a glance. If not, just put labels on the container indicating what is stored inside.

Novelty Kitchen Gadgets You May Find Interesting and Helpful

Adding a new kitchen gadget or two you consider essential will make your kitchen well-equipped and extra efficient.  Here are three that you may consider helpful enough for you to buy one. It could also be something you have never seen before.  These are new, innovative gadgets that will surely make other menial kitchen chores much more comfortable and more fun to do.  

Did you ever experience grappling with a jar to open its lid? And at the same time fearing you might break it and hurt yourself?  Having a jar opener like the one you can view in the link above will make sure you won’t go through that same experience again. You’d agree it looks a bit hi-tech and daunting to use, but it’s as simple as ABC.  Just position the jar opener on top of the jar, then press the engage button. How tall the jar to open is not a problem, and so does the size of the lid as the gadget is designed to be used for a wide range of jar sizes. 

Here’s an alternative way to avoid shedding tears while chopping up onions. It has stainless steel blades, and a container that holds the chopped onions. It also cuts, chops and dices vegetables and cheeses with a simple operation.

This versatile butter knife can also be used as a spreader, a grater, a slicer, and a curler. It’s like having four kinds of knife, not just one. It is made of brushed finish stainless steel. The holes in this butter knife are not for aesthetics, though it must be admitted; it makes it look more distinctive, elegant, and unique. The holes make cold butter more spreadable, and quicker to soften. With its ability to create butter curlicues, you can be more artistic and decorative with your food presentations.  It is nice to have a butter knife that can do much more than spreading butter on a piece of bread.

The Five Essential Kitchen Appliances to Make Work in the Kitchen More Efficient and Easier

  1. Food Processor

The food processor must be an essential kitchen appliance for homemakers who love to cook and to be creative with ingredients and techniques in food and ingredient preparation. Sometimes, we prefer to do our own versions of peanut butter, mayonnaise, or whipped cream, and this versatile kitchen aid will make that possible. Your home-made peanut butter can even be better than the ones available at the supermarket. Or you just want a desired consistency and flavor to suit your palate.

  1. Slow Cooker

A slow cooker is a countertop kitchen appliance that runs on electricity which is explicitly designed to simmer food at a lower temperature. Some food and cooking techniques require cooking at a temperature below the boiling point that will take several hours. In spite the longer time needed, the cooking can be left unattended safely. The slow cooker is also called a crock-pot in other countries.

  1. Rice Cooker

A rice cooker is a kitchen appliance for boiling and cooking rice. Most units have a detachable power cord that is plugged into an electrical outlet to run. It is constructed of food-grade stainless steel and usually comes with a steamer that is placed atop the cooker, with the tempered-glass lid on top.

With that extra feature, it is sometimes referred to or marketed as a multi-cooker, which is a more accurate description as it can cook other kinds of food and grain. There are more cooking possibilities by using these accessories.

  1. Juicer

The juicer or juice extractor is a kitchen appliance that draws out the juice from fruits, herbs, leafy greens, cruciferous, and other kinds of vegetables.  The extraction of the juice is accomplished by the crushing, grinding, and squeezing action of the cutter blade or shredder. The fiber is separated, and often discarded, leaving only the juice.

It is an essential appliance in any household that places a premium on excellent health and nutrition. In cases of illness, a family member may be prescribed by the doctor to be fed with liquid sustenance due to a weakened digestive system.  Juicing nutritious fruits and vegetables make them easier for the sick family member to digest the nutrients which are in a much more viable form that can be easily absorbed and used by the body. 

  1. Blender

A blender is a food processing kitchen appliance that is powered by electricity.  It does an excellent job letting you put together different fruits and vegetables, mixing and blending them in one go. The blender processes food by blending ingredients you put in it and liquefying it with the fibers still intact.  The juice is thicker and more filling because of the fibers.

Just like the juicer, it is an important appliance for processing meals into liquid consistency, especially for a family member recuperating from illness.  It provides an alternative way to include not so tasty fruits and vegetables to be enjoyed by blending it with other more deliciously tasting ones.

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