Your guide to Making Sure You Make Great Candy while Staying Safe
Accurately taking the temperature of food is very important when it comes to certain dishes. If you are wanting to safely cook meat, such as lamb and beef, using a meat thermometer is vital to ensure that you do not risk food poisoning from undercooked meat.
Thermometers are also used to make candy to get an accurate reading of when you need to take the candy mixture off the heat. The question some of you may have is “can I use a meat thermometer when making candy?’.
We will take a look at the two main uses of food thermometers: for meat and candy, what are the differences between the two, and can you use one thermometer for both?
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Types of Kitchen Thermometers
Many types of thermometers available can be used in various areas of cooking including jam-making, meat roasting, and candy making. There is so much choice on the market with old-fashioned dial thermometers still available alongside instant-read and digital thermometers in all shapes and sizes.
You may choose a traditional dial thermometer for the aesthetics but they can be more difficult to read, especially when there is a lot of steam coming out of food.
Meat thermometers are used for checking the internal temperature of a joint of meat or a full chicken, for example.
If you enjoy your meat very well cooked then it is likely that you do not need a meat thermometer but if you like your meat rare or medium then it is best to check that the core temperature is high enough that you will not get food poisoning and become ill.
The minimum temperature of any meat should reach i145 degrees Fahrenheit. You can check out guides to meat temperatures to ensure that the piece of meat you are cooking is safe and tasty. Meat, generally, does not exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit so most meat thermometers will not record temperatures higher than this.
As meat thermometers are not designed to record temperatures higher than 200 degrees the design process allows you to get very close to the piece of meat as you will not experience long-lasting burns from spitting food at this temperature.
The probe on a meat thermometer is short and can get very close to the joint of meat and can be traditional or digital. Meat thermometers are also designed to have a detachable probe that allows you to fully wash it to eliminate any parasites found in the meat.
Candy thermometers are designed to be placed in molten sugar to check if it is at the optimum temperature to make candy.
When making candy you need to follow precise instructions to reach certain temperatures as the melting and boiling process leads to the ‘hard crack’ or ‘softball’ stage.
When you do not follow the recipe and ensure that the candy reaches the correct temperature it is likely to fail and you may end up with a soft set of sugar rather than a hard candy.
Allowing your sugar to cook after reaching the correct temperature can lead to you burning the candy. Usually, the temperature that you want to take the molten sugar to is 230 degrees Fahrenheit and when it enters the softball stage it can reach 338 degrees Fahrenheit.
We see, that while there are some similarities between meat thermometers and candy thermometers, they are designed to measure very different temperatures. The vastness of the two temperature ranges indicates that, ideally, you should have two thermometers in your home.
Molten sugar, which is the base for candy, can reach very high temperatures over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, thermometers for candy can record temperatures of 400 degrees plus.
One of the major factors in using meat thermometers is safety. As you have read, if meat is undercooked you may be at risk of food poisoning which can lead to both mild and severe symptoms.
One of the major issues that undercooked meat causes are Salmonella. Salmonella is caused by bacteria in raw meat not being killed off enough in the cooking process. If meat does not reach the correct temperature then the bacteria are allowed to grow in those who consume it.
In the case of candy, the molten sugars in candy can reach very high temperatures and any temperature over 150 degrees Fahrenheit can seriously harm skin, with third-degree burns possible.
For this reason, wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves and aprons, while making candy is recommended, and using the correct equipment is essential.
Candy thermometers are designed with high temperatures in mind, so they tend to be longer than meat thermometers and have the ability to rest on the side of the saucepan so you do not have to keep your hand over the pan and risk the sugar spitting at you.
Using a meat thermometer for candy
As you can see, there are key factors to consider when choosing whether to use a meat thermometer for candy making or not.
Primarily, meat thermometers are designed to reach a certain temperature and tend to be shorter and fully hand-held. As candy thermometers are used to record very high temperatures they are long and can be left in your candy-making pan.
Candy thermometers are also good for making jam and cooking food that requires very hot oil. For the safety reasons discussed above, the candy thermometer is much more suitable than a meat thermometer as making these foods also means working with very high temperatures.
While you may think using a meat thermometer in place of a candy thermometer will be ok, we would advise against it due to both safety reasons and accuracy.
If you happen to have a candy recipe that does not require very high temperatures then inlay is possible to use a meat thermometer but this would be an unusual recipe making candy is a scientific process and the high temperatures are what change the syrup to hard candy.
Can you Buy a Thermometer for Both Meat and Candy?
If you are looking to buy a new thermometer and are wondering if there is a product on the market that can do both.
There is a variety of thermometers on the market, each designed for a specific function but there may find a meat thermometer that reaches higher temperatures than standard meat thermometers.
You should check out the design of the meat thermometer and if the probe is very long and can be detached for thorough cleaning then you should be ok to use it.
Read the Manual
To stay safe and ensure that the thermometer that you have bought is safe for making candy refer to the instruction manual at all times.
The manual will explain how to use the thermometer, what types of food it is suitable for, and what are the maximum temperatures it can reach.
If you don’t have a manual or you want to experiment with your meat thermometer you can do so but ensure that you stay safe and that you do not mind if the candy recipe fails the first time you try.
If you have the time and the tools to try it in a safe environment then you can go for it.
Choosing a Thermometer
The best way to stay safe in the kitchen is to buy two thermometers, one for meat and another for candy. If you are buying a thermometer for boiling sugar or making candy then you will need a traditional, long-probe thermometer that is easy to clean and can reach high temperatures.
If you are looking in the meat thermometer section you should check the temperature details to ensure it is capable of reaching where most candy recipes need it to go. You will find that older meat thermometers are not able to reach over 200 degrees Fahrenheit but modern digital thermometers may have the capacity.
A candy thermometer, however, will be the best option if you want an accurate reading and successful recipe-making. These days, thermometers are relatively cheap with options to suit all budgets. If you are planning on making a lot of candy then a stand-alone meat thermometer is a wise investment.
Thermometers are a key tool in the kitchen if you cook a lot of meat and make candies and jams. While you may think that you can use the same thermometer for all aspects of cooking some thermometers reach higher temperatures than others.
Meat thermometers are designed to reach around 200 degrees Fahrenheit as there is no capacity for,eat to reach higher than this. Candy thermometers, on the other hand, can reach temperatures over 300 degrees
Fahrenheit. As well as the ability to cook your food as accurately as possible, using the correct thermometer for certain procedures will ensure that you stay safe in the kitchen when it comes to food safety and personal safety.
As a busy mom, Raz knows firsthand the challenges of balancing parenting and household management. Raz is constantly searching for ways to simplify her life and loves sharing her experiences and tips with others. Whether it's finding creative meal solutions for picky eaters or discovering the latest time-saving home organization hack, she is always on the lookout for ways to make life easier for her family and herself.
Last update on 2023-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API