Why use a food thermometer at all? Isn’t it a bit geeky to be measuring food temperatures when you already know how to cook? Well, read on to find out how this simple and cheap device can help you save time, money and avoid a nasty bout of food poisoning. Some modern gadgets really are worth buying after all!
Four Good Reasons to Use a Food Thermometer:
If you are really not sure why it is a really good idea to use a food thermometer then just read these top three reasons….
Ensures your Food is Safely Cooked: Just putting raw meat or fish in an oven and blasting it does not ensure that it is safely cooked all the way through. Particularly with a BBQ there is a risk that the food is cooked on the outside and raw on the inside. If you want to minimize the risk of food poisoning from undercooked food then taking 5 seconds to check the temperature is really worthwhile.
Avoid Burning your Mouth: If you use a microwave a lot then it is easy to reheat foods to a scalding temperature which can quickly burn your mouth and lips if you are not careful. Re-heated soup is the prime candidate here….just check the temperature after you remove the bowl from the microwave…and dont forget to allow a few seconds standing time since the liquid will continue to heat up even after the microwave has switched off.
Save Time: You know how long it takes to cook you roast in the oven right? Wrong!!! The time taken depends on the weight of the meat, the particular cut, the temperature of the meat when you put it in the oven and the actual temperature of the oven. Plenty of variables!!! Very often we actually overcook a roast which wastes time. Use the thermometer to spike the roast meat…once it has reached the right temperature then it is cooked and safe to eat. Chances are you can shave quite a bit of time off your normal roast if you monitor the temperature of the meat.
Save Energy: If you are cooking the meat at the right temperature for the right length of time then you will minimize the use of gas or electricity. Once the meat has reached the correct internal temperature then you can turn the oven off and stop wasting energy.
Safe Cooking Temperatures:
Use a food thermometer to ensure that your BBQ food is properly cooked…avoid the risk of a jippy stomach! With a BBQ there is a real risk that the food is burnt on the outside and almost raw on the inside….an ideal recipe for food poisoning!!!
The US Food Safety Website gives an excellent table of safe cooking temperatures and also states that it is really important to allow for the “standing time” after cooking to allow any harmful bacteria to be completely zapped.
Basically most egg, fish, poultry and meat products need cooking until their internal temperature is between 145F (62C) and 165F (73C)…..but read the chat since it does depend what you are cooking. Always use a food thermometer with a sharp point so that you can accurately take the temperature right in the middle of the meat….do not take the surface temperature!
Choosing a Food Thermometer:
Basically there are three types of food thermometer to choose from…and all use different technologies:
Analogue Dial Thermometer: Typically works with a bi-metalic strip. Can be slow to respond so you may end up overcooking some food.
All of these instruments are good so the final choice is up to you…but it really does make sense to use a food thermometer on a regular basis.
This combined digital food thermometer has a rubber sleeve that slides over the probe so it can also be used to take the temperature of soup or even be a help with jam making or brewing!
The sharp narrow point and combined readout makes this a really useful tool in the kitchen. With a response time of around 5 seconds there really is no excuse not use a food thermometer every time you cook.
Take a Frugal Tip from the MeanyGoat and start to use a food thermometer…it can help you save time, money and above all ensure that your food is safely cooked!