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Food is one of the few things that unite all of us. No matter where you come from or what you believe in, we all eat. We might eat different things or cook the same meals differently, but we all need a good meal at the end of the day. But are we being responsible with it? Are we taking the necessary steps to ensure food safety in our kitchens?
It’s easy to think of kitchen safety as just making sure everything is unplugged when it’s not in use and keeping knives outside of the range of kids. But perhaps the most important safety consideration comes in the form of how we eat our food. 1 in 6 Americans get sick from food every year, and this is something we can prevent at home.
When it comes to food safety thoroughly cooking meats is the most important step we can make. This means using food thermometers to ensure the internal temperature of the meat is appropriate, but how many of us do that?
Is Color a Safety Indicator?
Most people cook the same way. They start grilling their food and stop once a certain amount of time or the desired look has been reached. People ask if the meat is “done” and the cook takes a look at its color to guess if it is or how long will it take it.
Now, this technique might be good to get your desired finish or texture, but when it comes to safety that perfectly grilled color and being “done” means absolutely nothing for safety.
Potential harmful bacteria in food are only destroyed when the internal temperature of an ingredient reaches a certain value. Not only is this value different between meat, poultry, and so on, but each piece of meat we cook is also different.
A thin patty and a large steak might look “done” in a similar amount of time, but the internal temperatures won’t match. This means that a lot of food is undercooked for safety purposes; the Food Safety and Inspection Service has reported that one out of every four hamburgers might be unsafe for consumption.
There are many variables when it comes to cooking. You can rely on your sight and smell, if you truly want to make a safe meal you’ll need the right tools.
Why Are Food Thermometers So Important?
Food and particularly meats can carry pathogenic microorganisms that can make us ill if consumed. This is the main reason we need to ensure our food is well cooked, and if we don’t pay attention to it, we run a serious risk of getting sick. We mentioned above that 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food every year, but the intensity varies drastically. Up to 3000 Americans die of food poisoning every year and 128, 000 will get hospitalized. There’s ample risk and far too much to lose when it comes to handling food.
According to the CDC, Ground meats require 160°F and poultry up to 165°F, so we require a precision device to guarantee our safety. That said food thermometers can be useful for cooking in general. If you are someone who values a juicy steak then a food thermometer can help you determine when it’s safe to eat without having to overcook it, and that’s a win-win.
If you are already considering our point we’d like to introduce you to two simple to use and reliable food thermometers that can help protect your meals from now on. The TP18 Instant Read Thermometer is a compact device that only requires you to probe your meal to get an instant reading of its internal temperature. it’s as unintrusive as it gets and you won’t have to change your habits for it.
If instead, you want constant coverage of your meal’s temperature even from afar then the TP07S Digital Wireless Thermometer is perfect for you. These two thermometers can constantly monitor the temperature while you use the separate screen to stay informed.
How to Use a Food Thermometer?
While there are a wide variety of food thermometers in the market most of them have the same functionality. Food thermometers read the internal temperature of food thanks to a thin probe or stem that you insert directly on the food, this is what guarantees the accurate reading. What you need to know as a user is when to probe your food.
Traditional Oven-Proof Dial Thermometers are meant to be inserted as soon as cooking begins and left inside the entire process. The key with them and any other thermometer lie in sticking the probe in the thickest point without touching any fat or bones, as those can affect the reading.
For Digital Thermometers and other alternatives that can’t be safely heated, then the trick lies in removing your dish from the heat for a while and sticking the stem the same way we told you above. You’ll get a reading in 10 seconds at most and that’ll give you an accurate reading of the internal temperature. So, you’ll cook the same as always, but with periodical, temperature checks to ensure food safety is being preserved.
The most important thing to take away from today’s article is that a meal can be “done”, but this won’t mean it’s safe. The only way to know if meat has gotten rid of any potential microorganisms is to check its internal temperature and that requires the use of food thermometers.
The external and internal temperatures of food are not always match, so without directly probing the meat with a thermometer, it might be difficult for us to know how hot or mild it is inside the meat. Thankfully food thermometers are both affordable and easy to use, so you should get used to them in no time.