Cooking food at the correct temperature is extremely important. When cooking food, it may appear to be ready to eat, but if it has not reached the appropriate temperature, it is not safe. This is why every kitchen should have appropriate food thermometers for food safety.

There are three main cooking thermometers. Dial oven-safe, dial instant-read, and digital instant-read.

A dial oven-safe thermometer is inserted into the food from the start of the cooking and remains until the food is cooked thoroughly. This type of thermometer is best in large cuts of meats and should not be used for boneless or thin foods.

Dial instant-read thermometers are not made to stay in the food while cooking. You use this type of thermometer towards the end of cooking and at the thickest part of the meat. Make sure you are not placing the thermometer on the bone as this will give you a false reading.

A digital instant-read thermometer also does not remain in the food while cooking. Like a dial instant-read, you check the temperature toward the end of cooking. You should place the probe at the thickest point or center of the food for about 10 seconds to receive an accurate display. This type of thermometer device is valuable to use for checking the temperature of thin food and is easier to read compared to the dial thermometers.

To make sure foods have reached the appropriate temperature, use the correct thermometer. It is best to use a thermometer that will read from 0°F all the way to 220°F.

Important thermometer tips:

•    Check the internal temperature of the food towards the end of the cooking time.

•    Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat or in the center to get a proper reading of the temperature. Do not touch the bone with the thermometer to prevent a false reading.

•    When taking the temperature of large amounts of food like a big piece of meat, take it in two or more locations to provide a more accurate account.

•    Wash the thermometer after each use.

Always maintain hot foods at a minimum of 141°F otherwise it will be in the danger zone.