Tip of the Day
Food Thermometer Know-How
Stores carry a wide variety of food thermometers, from traditional dials to even disposable varieties. Take a look at those listed below and pick which type is best for you and remember to use it every time you cook:
- Dial oven-safe thermometers inserted two to two and a half inches deep into the thickest part of the food can remain there throughout cooking. They read in one to two minutes and are great for roasts, casseroles and soups, but not appropriate for thin foods.
- Digital instant-read thermometers are not designed to stay in food while it is cooking and reads in about 10 seconds when the stem is inserted into the food about a half-inch deep. Good for measuring the temperature in thin and thick foods.
- Dial instant-read thermometers are not designed to stay in the food while cooking and read in 15 to 20 seconds when the stem is inserted about two to two and a half inches deep in the thickest part of the food. Can be used in roasts, casseroles and soups, but not appropriate for thin dishes unless inserted sideways.
- Pop-up thermometers are usually already inserted into poultry when you purchase the poultry. This thermometer is designed to pop up when the food reaches the final temperature for safety and doneness. Always verify the meat is done though with a conventional thermometer.
- Thermometer-fork combination thermometers are convenient for grilling and read in two to 10 seconds. It should be placed at least a fourth of an inch deep in the thickest part of the food, with the sensor in the fork fully inserted.
- Microwave-safe thermometers are now available designed for microwave ovens only.
- Disposable temperature indicators are meant for one-time use. They read in 5 to 10 seconds when the temperature-sensitive material changes color. They are meant for only specific temperature ranges, for example, for burgers or chicken. Always use them as directed by the manufacturer.
To learn more about using a food thermometer to cook to proper temperatures, visit www.HomeFoodSafety.org and download the Is My Food Safe? app.
Reviewed June 2013