An ergonomic ice cream scoop: Optimal postures for the holiday weekend

two difference ice cream scoops

If you plan to scoop ice cream for an endless line of hungry humans this holiday weekend, your wrists will be screaming for attention. This article includes some tips, and a review of a new scooping tool, said to improve scooping posture. Before you begin scooping, a few tips:

    • If the weather is warm, the ice cream softens for easier scooping. (On the other hand, the warmer the weather, the greater the demand!)

    • Place the tub on a low surface so you can scoop using the stronger back and arm muscles, rather than your arm and wrist. For me, the kitchen table is a better height for scooping than the counter, for example.

    • I hope your “customers” are satisfied with one small scoop each, to reduce the repetitive demands, and to leave some in the tub for you!

Everyone has a favourite ice cream flavour, and that often means hauling several tubs from the freezer.  Our team registered their favourites (see below). Carrie needs to stock at least four flavours for our summer retreat! What is your preferred flavour?

Have you ever wondered what is the best tool to take the strain out of scooping ice cream? As an ice cream afficionado, I have. I searched for the best ice cream scoop online, and bought one that was marketed as “ergonomic”, so I could combine my loves for ice cream AND ergonomics.

The marketing claims for the “Midnight Scoop“:

Its ergonomic patent pending design allows you to use your body’s strong muscles rather than your weak wrist joints. It performs like a shovel because it is “pushed” into hard ice cream.

The concept is that, by using the arms and shoulders, the better posture and sharper edge (less force) will reduce the strain on the wrists.

My findings:

two ice cream scoopsI compared the Midnight Scoop with an old-fashioned scoop that we found in the cottage, which has a wooden handle and a release button. The images above show us scooping soft “yonanas” (mango, cherry, and bananas….my favourite healthy summer treat!) I also tried the tool with harder ice cream from our deep freeze.

The Midnight Scoop weighs 0.3 kg, so it’s about 50% heavier than my old scoop. The weight is useful for creating downward motion to “dig” into softer ice cream, but I might get tired of carrying the scoop if I was scooping all day. The pointy end also helps to cut through the ice cream.  The Midnight scoop did push through soft ice cream easier.

We had an awkward moment when the ice cream didn’t want to release from the Midnight Scoop, and we were tempted to tap it on the bowl. (My china!) As far as “release” goes, the old scoop won the contest, because the ball fell freely from the scoop when the handy release button was pressed.

The Midnight Scoop’s instructional video recommends pushing the scoop with the palm of the hand to create a ball of ice cream, rather than dragging the scoop sideways. I agree that this posture provides more strength, but, if you push forward (the strongest pushing direction), then the ice cream ball moves from the tub and onto the counter or into the wall. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t demonstrate an easy way to deliver the scoop from the tub to the bowl, and we didn’t figure out a convenient method either. Pulling the ice cream toward the body, over the close edge of the tub, and into the bowl feels less awkward, despite the strength disadvantage and awkward wrist posture. 

Hard ice cream?

As for pushing through rock-hard ice cream from the deep freezer….I tried to grip the Midnight scoop like a regular scoop (as shown above) but my hand slipped down the handle, so I quickly learned to push with my palm from the end of the scoop, as instructed in the video and shown at right. This grip posture, with my palm against the end of the tool, created contact pressure in my palm. The wrist and shoulder postures, which were great when the ice cream was soft, became awkward when I raised my arm and twisted my back to generate the force to push the scoop. Alas, even with the pointy, sharp scoop edge and extra tool weight, I didn’t have the strength to make a nice scoop.

The old scoop was not better – I didn’t have the strength to cut through the hard ice cream, and the metal components on the handle dug into my fingers. I ended up with a bowl full of ice cream chips and ribbons and sore wrists and palms.

I concluded that neither scoop “magically” cuts through really hard ice cream.

I don’t regret the purchase. The Midnight scoop is a sturdy tool that should last a lifetime, but I probably won’t spend too much time rummaging through the drawer if it’s not the first at hand.

My plan? I’ll keep my “in use” tubs in the fridge freezer where they’ll be softer, and I resolve to take a new tub out of the deep freeze well before scooping time. Addressing the “high force” issue, in this case, appears to be more important than optimizing posture.

So, what are our fav flavours?

Carrie: Tigertail

Alex:  Chocolate, peanut butter and/or coffee, and mint chocolate chip

Callum: Cookies and cream, or chocolate and peanut butter

Christina: Cookies and cream

Aaron: Cookies and cream

Priscilla: Vanilla and cookie dough

Looks like I need lots of cookies and cream, and I won’t have any competition for tigert

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