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Choosing the right candy thermometer for stevia candy

Finding a decent candy thermometer is crucial for any kind of candy making, for making delicious jams and jellies with stevia, or even for measuring deep fryer temperatures. 

 

The way it works for candy though, is you clip it to the side of your saucepan (most of these thermometers come with such a clip), and insert the measuring pin or bulb into the liquid, without it touching the side or bottom of the pan. 

The main difference between a meat thermometer and a candy thermometer is that the latter usually measures much higher temperatures - up to 400°F (200°C).

There are three main types of thermometers:

   

  • the classic liquid thermometer that uses colored alcohol in a bulb to indicate temperature   
  • the dial thermometer that uses rotating coils for measuring
  • the digital thermometer that uses an LCD screen to display temperatures, and sometimes contains presets and alarms

As to which type of thermometer is the best, it’s difficult to say because there are a lot of models out there with varying features, and there are pros and cons to every type. Liquid ones tend to measure subtle temperature changes more accurately, which is an advantage when you’re constantly having to monitor the temperature, for example when making chocolate. Digital ones take less time to give a reading, and can sometimes be programmed to sound an alarm when the desired temperature has been reached.
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Before using your thermometer on your first batch of stevia candy, you should check to see whether it reads properly. Do this by boiling a pot of water and inserting the thermometer when your water is boiling. The temperature should read 212°F (100°C). 

If you notice that your thermometer is off by a few degrees, don’t panic! Your unit is not broken; these changes take place because your new tool is sensitive to heights: for every 1000 feet (300m) that you are above sea level, you might notice a temperature change of up to 2°F (1°C). 

When this happens, simply adjust your thermometer’s reading if possible (some digital thermometers allow you to do this), or keep the difference in mind while you are preparing your candy.

 

When it comes to buying a candy thermometer, you should keep in mind that most of them are reported to have a very unpredictable and often short lifespan, and that it’s really hard to find a durable one. 

 

For the most part – although this is not always the case – the thermometers in the $20-30 range are a bit more resistant than the cheaper ones. Some of the most popular brands are Polder, CDN and Taylor. However, since you’ll probably be replacing your thermometer regularly, you might want to consider buying a couple of cheap ones so you always have some in reserve. The cheaper models start at around $5 a piece.




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