A cooking thermometer, or kitchen thermometer, is a device that can check the doneness of food.
It’s widely used for meat dishes to confirm that the meat is fully cooked and safe to consume.
Cooking thermometers are also useful to check the temperature of sugar for candy making. You can also use it with vegetable dishes and other types of recipes.
There are different types of cooking thermometers for different purposes.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
1. Meat Thermometers
Meat must be cooked thoroughly mainly for safety concerns.
If parts of it remain uncooked, it can harbor dangerous microbes that cause serious digestive illnesses.
Thus, a cooking thermometer is very useful to check for the doneness of meat.
Traditional meat thermometers have a large analog dial to indicate temperature. Modern digital versions are also available.
They can even be programmed to a certain temperature, and some devices beep when the meat reaches the said temperature.
How to Use Meat Thermometers?
You can insert a meat thermometer into a joint of meat, like pork, chicken, or turkey.
Depending on the type of thermometer, you can either leave it inside the meat while cooking or take it out after occasionally checking the temperature.
Analog thermometers can stay inside the meat, in the oven while roasting meat.
Some digital thermometers have an oven-proof probe that can sit inside the oven, while the main unit sits outside on the oven.
To read the temperature, just pull it out of the meat and check the display. In the case of an analog display, the needle will point to the reading.
2. Candy Thermometers
Another area where thermometers play an important role is in the melting of sugar in candy-making.
To make candy, the temperature of liquid sugar must sometimes reach as high as 300°F.
Candy thermometers are specifically built for this purpose. They are constructed using glass, which can withstand high temperatures.
Candy thermometers display accurate readings since you must hit very specific temperatures to get the right consistency.
These thermometers have an analog display unit, where the red line rises with temperature increase.
The temperature indications are present on either side, providing accurate readings.
How to Use Candy Thermometers?
Most candy thermometers have a clip that attaches to the cooking pot.
After clipping it to the side of the pot, you can insert the thermometer inside the liquid and leave it there while the liquid boils.
3. Instant Read Thermometers
Instant read thermometers are versatile devices that you can use to measure the temperature of different types of food.
Their probe can be inserted inside the cooked or uncooked food to take the reading.
You can use these thermometers to check the doneness of meat, hot foods like soup or baby food, or even cold items.
You can also use them to check the temperature of perishable food like rice that breeds microbes if left in the danger zone for too long.
There are both analog and digital versions of instant thermometers.
Instant analog thermometers have a dial with a needle display.
Meanwhile, digital thermometers have a digital display unit. These devices will display the temperature quickly and accurately.
How to Use Instant Read Thermometers?
Instant read thermometers are not meant to be left inside ingredients during cooking. So you can’t place them inside the oven or on the stove.
To use them, simply insert the probe into the cooked food, check the temperature, and pull them out.
4. Deep-Fry Thermometers
A deep-fry thermometer resembles a candy thermometer in its look and design. You can use it just as you would use a candy thermometer.
You can also use them interchangeably since their temperature ranges are similar.
Deep fry thermometers can measure high temperatures.
For frying food, the oil must reach a temperature above 300°F. These thermometers can measure temperatures in this range.
How to Use Deep Fry Thermometers?
To use a deep-fry thermometer, wait till the oil is hot. Then, you can insert it in hot oil to determine if it’s the right temperature to fry food.
The temperature should be at least 300 degrees for deep frying. So, use the thermometer to check if the oil has reached this level.
Add the ingredients to the oil when the temperature is right.
Additionally, you can also use the thermometer to check the temperature of the fried food to make sure it cooks thoroughly.
5. Oven Thermometers
The temperature settings on ovens are seldom accurate.
The actual temperature may be off by 25 degrees or more for any setting, depending on the oven.
It’s also common for ovens to have hot or cold spots that affect the cooking time and quality of the dish.
For certain dishes that require precise temperature settings, an oven thermometer proves to be very useful.
It will help you set the oven to an accurate temperature. So the dishes will turn out with the right texture and taste as expected.
How to Use Oven Thermometers?
Most oven thermometers can either be placed on the shelf or hung from the rack of an oven.
You can see the temperature on the oven thermometer from the outside and monitor it closely.
If there are any changes in the reading, you can adjust the oven dials or temperature controls to set the desired temperature.
6. Refrigerator Thermometers
It’s not a common practice to use a refrigerator thermometer.
However, if you constantly end up with food-related health problems despite taking proper precautions during preparation and storage, your refrigerator may be to blame.
At elevated temperatures, bacteria and mold will grow in food. Though this may be invisible to the naked eye, it can significantly affect your health and lead to digestive problems.
The ideal refrigerator temperature is between 33°F and 44°F. But most refrigerators will come with temperature adjustment knobs.
You can use them to adjust the temperature settings according to the weather.
Nonetheless, it should be between this specified temperature range for food safety reasons.
The best way to make sure that the temperature of a refrigerator is accurate is to use a thermometer.
You need a special thermometer for this purpose since it must be able to measure low temperatures.
So, a refrigerator thermometer becomes necessary.
Freezer thermometers are also available to check the functioning of a freezer compartment.
Freezers will usually store food at a temperature of 0°F. So, you need a thermometer that reads this low temperature to check the operation.
How to Use Refrigerator Thermometers?
Both refrigerator and freezer thermometers must remain inside the refrigerator or freezer compartment for a short while to read the temperature accurately.
These thermometers are usually built to sit on a shelf. So, you can place it there and close the door.
The thermometer will not occupy much space. To check the reading on the dial, you must open the door.
Opening the door of the refrigerator or freezer will not cause a significant change in the reading.
So, you should get a fair idea of the compartment by using these devices.