Rarely a day goes by that I don’t put on exam gloves. Most days it’s at my job as a sonographer (ultrasound tech), but there are many days I use them in the kitchen where they are surprisingly useful.
I prefer exam gloves over food-handler gloves (the clear, one-size-fits-all kind you see in restaurants and schools). They fit more snugly and allow better tactile manipulation.
Where to buy exam gloves
I buy them at Costco for around $10 for 2 boxes which will last me between one and two years. You can also buy them in the medical supply section of almost any drugstore or grocery store. Amazon also carries exam gloves.
Open stubborn lids
This is one of my favorite uses–especially as I get older.
Prevent burned fingers
Exam gloves have wonderful insulating properties…to a point. Don’t use them to remove hot dishes from an oven.
But if you are slicing hot meat, turning out hot muffins or baked goods, or handling hot veggies (perhaps hollowing out cooked potatoes or stuffing an eggplant), gloves will allow you to do it quickly and cleanly without burning your fingers.
The corn on the cob you see below was cooked in the microwave per the instructions seen here, so that cob is HOT! You could use hot pads to hang on to the shucks, but they are awkward. Exam gloves make the job easy.
By the way, if you haven’t seen this You Tube video about how to cook and shuck corn with no husks in the final product, you must! I’ve tried it and my life will never be the same. I’m eating more fresh corn on the cob than is probably good for a person.
The little tart shells in the picture have just come out of the oven and without gloves, they would be difficult to handle.
If you are slicing hot meat, turning out hot muffins or baked goods, or handling hot veggies (perhaps hollowing out cooked potatoes, stuffing an eggplant, or separating sweet potatoes from white potatoes), gloves will allow you to do it quickly and cleanly without burning your fingers.
The little tart shells in this recipe have just come out of the oven and without gloves, they would be difficult to handle.
Shield pastries or candy from body heat
When working with pastries that tend to be difficult as they get warm, e.g. pie crust or puff pastry, put on gloves to protect the food. If you are rolling cookie dough into balls, making candy, or pie crust, gloves will prevent your body heat from warming the dough and making it too sticky to handle.
Works with ice cream balls, too.
Protect from unsociable odors
If you don’t want your hands to smell like garlic or onions when you shake hands with the President after fixing his next state dinner, wear gloves.
Barrier against natural toxins
Ever chop a fresh pepper and then rub your eyes? Believe me. Wearing gloves is a very good idea. I don’t recommend making one of the most popular recipes on this blog without them.
No more discolored fingers
Peeling beets, squeezing citrus fruits, and extracting seeds from pomegranates or cherries are just a few of the times you might want to protect your fingers from food stains.
It’s also a good way to avoid black fingers when polishing your grandmother’s silver.
Give the slip to sticky, slimy or gooey tasks
I’m sure you’ve already thought of this one but had to mention it anyway because it’s probably the number one reason I put these gloves on.
Some tasks are just better suited for hands. As we used to say at the Greenhouse (previous job), “Hands were made before spoons.”
But some jobs are ickier than bowls of mysterious substances in a Halloween funhouse. Filling pasta shells and mixing meatloaf or meatballs are just two of the many messy jobs made more tolerable with gloves.
P.S. My 3 yr. old grandson begs to put these gloves on every time he comes for a visit. I’m not really sure why they appeal but they seem to turn on his imagination.
More ideas from readers:
“So glad you confirmed that I’m not a crazy person like my family thinks…they make fun of my gloves but I’m the one who doesn’t have raw meat, bits of dough or rotisserie chicken under my fingernails! Another fun use at Halloween…fill with water, add red food coloring (or whatever color matches your decor), close it up and freeze it. Create a Halloween punch, remove the glove from the frozen “hand” and let it float in the punch bowl..creepy!”Denise
“I have arthritis in my hands and handling cold hamburger meat really makes my hands ache. So when I am making out hamburger patties, or mixing & shaping a meatloaf, I pu on a pair of the “dr. gloves”. They keep my hands from getting cold & achy, & make for really easy clean-up.”Sherri
“I like the gloves’ protection when I’m skinning tomatoes for canning. They really do protect somewhat from the heat of the water the tomatoes are sitting in and when using them for other foods in the kitchen, I also wash my “hands”, gloves and all with soap and water.”Georgie
“Your picture of Kent with the gloves reminded me of a cute trick my grandkids really liked when they were pre-school age. I had a macaroni box with the cellophane window in half of the box. When I had used about 2/3 of the contents, I discovered that when I turned the box upside down, the remaining macaroni “disappeared” in that little window. I called it the “magic box”, and they loved to get in the drawer pull it out. (Of course I did have to tape the box shut.) That macaroni was about 2 years old when I finally threw it away.”Sis