Don’t you hate it when you find out that because you weren’t properly informed you wasted money? I’ve long been a fan of metal probe-style instant read thermometers. As I’ve written before, they help you to cook meat not only safely but also to the perfect level of doneness. I knew these thermometers need to be tested frequently (especially after being dropped) but whenever I found one to be on the fritz, displaying a temperature out of whack with normal temperature standards, I threw it away.
At an average of $15 each, that means that over the last few years, I’ve thrown out well over $100 worth of instant read thermometers! That’s money I could have spent on dinner out at a nice restaurant, a facial, bonbons, beer or some other necessity of life. (Or, I guess I could have saved it, but whatever.).
Essentially that cash went into my trash can and then into land fill since almost all instant read thermometers can be calibrated. I learned this info when I took a safe food handling course on Sunday and I’ve been mad at myself ever since for not knowing that these tools are easily adjusted.
As I got over the initial embarrassing sting of how I’ve wasted money, I realized that if one person doesn’t know about something, there are likely others who aren’t informed either. So, today, just in time for grilling season, I’m going to teach you how to check your instant read thermometer for accuracy and how to fix it if it fails the test.
- Step One – Testing: Fill a glass with equal parts cold water and ice cubes to make an ice slush mixture. Insert the instant read probe into the centre of the mixture being sure not to touch the sides or bottom of the glass. If the thermometer does not read 0 degrees celsius (or 32 degrees fahrenheit) move on to step two. Otherwise, clean the probe and put it away.
- Step Two – Calibrating: Turn the thermometer so that the face is away from you. On the underside of the thermometer, look for the nut that attaches the probe to the casing that holds the face. Use a small adjustable wrench to turn this nut gently. Retest the temperature and readjust the nut until you get the appropriate reading. Note: Many models have a wrench built right into the same holder that keeps the probe clean and protected!
Did you know how to test and calibrate an instant read thermometer before reading today’s post? Or, am I the only one who didn’t know how to do this task?
NB: If you need info about how to use an instant read thermometer, check out this post from last spring.