August 23, 2012 by tayim
Don’t have a thermometer for food? You are DEFINITELY missing out – here are a few reasons why you should get a food thermometer.
Why buy a food thermometer?
- Jamming! Making jam is so much fun and it’s even more fun with the help of a thermometer. While I love surprises, jam isn’t exactly supposed to be a runny mess or hard as a brick. Temperature does matter with jam and even though I can “see” when a jam is finished, the thermometer has proven me wrong on more than one occasion.
- Farenheight or Celcius? Doesn’t matter, just flip the switch. I like to make not only jams, but syrups, confits, dulche de leche and more – the recipes aren’t always from American sites. With the one little click, my thermometer has gone metric. Be sure yours has the same feature before you buy.
- Check your oven temperature! We couldn’t figure out why nothing was cooking until we bought an oven safe thermometer – BINGO! Our oven was lying to us! So instead of getting a new oven, we keep the oven safe thermometer in the oven and rely on it for an accurate temperature reading. An accurate temperature is a must for baked goods.
- Tricky to cook meat. Since we don’t buy factory farmed meat, our chickens don’t come symmetrical and our turkeys don’t come with a pop out timer. After drying out many a bird trying to cut into it and see if it’s done, I now use a thermometer. I also use it when I think my husband is undercooking meat:) There is no arguing with the thermometer! Check out this convenient chart for done temperatures or indicators.
|Category||Food||Temperature (°F)||Rest Time|
|Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures||Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb||160||None|
|Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb||Steaks, roasts, chops||145||3 minutes|
|Poultry||Chicken & Turkey, whole||165||None|
|Poultry breasts, roasts||165||None|
|Poultry thighs, legs, wings||165||None|
|Duck & Goose||165||None|
|Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)||165||None|
|Pork and Ham||Fresh pork||145||3 minutes|
|Fresh ham (raw)||145||3 minutes|
|Precooked ham (to reheat)||140||None|
|Eggs & Egg Dishes||Eggs||Cook until yolk and white are firm||None|
|Leftovers & Casseroles||Leftovers||165||None|
|Seafood||Fin Fish||145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.||None|
|Shrimp, lobster, and crabs||Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque.||None|
|Clams, oysters, and mussels||Cook until shells open during cooking.||None|
|Scallops||Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm.||None|
So now that you’re going to get a food thermometer, which one should you get? There is a really great guide to food thermometers that can help. We have two in our house, a digital instant read and a dial oven safe. You can probably find one that fits all of your needs, we only have two because our oven’s temperature gage does not match the actual temperature.
Thermometer TIP: You can also check the temperature of your refrigerator. We found out that our 20 year old beast of a fridge actually does not get as cold as it’s supposed to. This is why our well planned and seemingly well executed attempts to work with pastry dough failed! While it’s cold enough for most stuff, delicate and sensitive items can easily ruin.