Cooking to the thermometer

Use a theremometer to see if foods are reaching minimal internal temperatures.

How do you know when your food is done and safe to eat and yet it is juicy and full of flavor? All of these stipulations can be met when cooking to the thermometer. Michigan State University Extension recommends always using a thermometer when cooking raw meats, poultry, eggs, leftovers and casseroles.

It is important to know what temperatures various foods should reach in order to be considered done and safe to eat. When using a thermometer as a guide to cook foods it also provides temperatures that keep foods moist and flavorful.

When cooking raw meats, poultry, eggs, leftovers and casseroles know what the correct temperature is that needs to be reached in order to serve safe foods. If the food item has not reached the correct temperature there could be bacteria that could reach unsafe levels. Undercooked food or food that have not been cooked to the proper temperature can encourage bacterial growth. Check the cooked meat in two or more places (thickest part of the meat) just to be sure it has reached the minimal cooking temperature.

Here are basic temperature guidelines to follow when cooking or reheating foods; these are minimal internal temperatures. They can be cooked longer to a higher temperature this is to assure that harmful bacteria are killed in the cooking process.

Food Product                                                    Reheat temperature in degrees Fahrenheit

Beef, Pork, Veal and Lamb                                 145 F

Fish and Shellfish                                               145 F

Ham (uncooked)                                                 145 F

Ground meats                                                     160 F

Eggs                                                                    160 F

Fully cooked ham (reheat)                                  165 F

Poultry                                                                 165 F

Left overs                                                            165 F

Casseroles                                                          165 F

Checking the temperature of foods that you eat may seem like an unimportant extra step but if it can keep someone from getting food poisoning than it is worth the time to check for the temperature to keep it safe. It is always important to keep foods out of the temperature danger zone.

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