So, thermometers are now added to the list of "things Jess is not allowed to use without adult supervision," others being sharp things, matches, and electrician's scissors (which kind of fall under sharp things but get their own cattegory for reasons I won't get into right now). But, I mean, the thermometer started it. I was perfectly willing to get al8ng with it.
Hmmph. It ended it too, though, when it flipped out of the pan and splashed boiling, liquid sugar on my finger.
But hey, at least when I ran my finger under cold water the sugar hardened right away and fell right off instead of sticking.
That's the problem though. All of the recipes I looked at said that for hard candy the sugar and water solution should reach 300° F. When the thermometer hit about 180° (it was marked in 50's) I noticed the amount of steam coming off the solution had suddenly reduced to barely visible. I tested a drop in water and it was very chewy and starting to solidify. I hadn't looked up temperatures for other stages but this seemed off to me. Very shortly after that I wasn't seeing steam anymore. Not even a little. The thermometer read about 230°/240°. I tested and the very slow, tiny drip that came off the spoon hardened immediately. I thought about taking the candy off the burner at that point but hesitated for just a few seconds because the thermometer said it wasn't time yet. And just like that, in those few seconds, the liquid candy started to turn brown. I cursed the thermometer as I quikly removed the pan from the heat and that's when the devilish thing turned on me, breaking free of the clip and injuring me as mentioned above.
So why the blanket statement in the title that thermometers are liars and backstabers? Why do I not just write this one off as a one off defect and give the rest of thermometers the benifit of the doubt? Because I've never owned an acurate thermometer. Not one! Digital, analog, candy, oven, meat, multi-purpose, doesn't matter. None of them have been accurate. And it's not like using a thermometer requires genius intelligence levels. I know about proper placement and all. I know that letting it tumble about recklessly can ruin the calibration. I know not to leave them in the hot oven in a turkey unless it is specifically rated for such use. I know to keep it clean and not let water get into the face of it. So just in case anyone doubted it before, please know now that yes, I do indeed know how to use a thermometer.
What I'm wondering about is, is this just me or do others have problems with thermometer accuracy? At this point I've pretty much decided to ditch the stupid things. My instincts serve me way better than any thermometer has. I just wonder if I'm going to run across something where I really do need exact enough temps to require a thermometer.
Anyone have any thoughts, suggestions, thermometers that are actually accurate?