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Re-Use the Turkey Thermometer

Easy to Reset Thermometer to Use Again

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Reset the turkey thermometer for chicken or other poultry.

Reset the turkey thermometer for chicken or other poultry.

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Did you know you could re-use the thermometer that comes with many frozen turkeys? It makes sense, when you think about it. Those thermometers contain a ball of metal and a spring. The thermometer is designed such that the metal will melt at the safe temperature for turkey meat (~180°F), releasing the spring and popping up the button. To reset the thermometer all you have to do is dip the tip of the thermometer in hot water (near-boiling will definitely work) to melt the metal. Push the button back down and remove the thermometer from the water, keeping the button depressed. Wait about a minute for the metal to cool, locking the spring back into place. There you go!

I don't cook turkey all that often, but the thermometer is good for chicken or other poultry, too. It's much smaller than the typical meat thermometer and also much less likely to injure your hand if you go fishing around in a drawer for a thermometer that you rarely use.

I haven't dissected a turkey thermometer to confirm it is metal that holds the spring, as opposed to some polymer, but assuming there is metal inside the thermometer, I'd recommend discarding any thermometer with a damaged coating. Metals with low melting points tend to be toxic, after all. This also means that if you cut open your thermometer to examine its workings, you should use care and dispose of your experiment out of reach of children or pets.

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