|Hang on to those little pop-up turkey timers this holiday season
to throw in your survival kits and bug out bags to use as WAPIs!
This holiday season hang on to those little pop-up turkey timers that let you know your turkey is done to throw in your survival kits and bug out bags! In fact… go ahead and just pull them out of your turkey before you even cook it as they are actually terrible for cooking turkeys (they are the main culprit in overdone and dry turkeys all across America!!).
Despite the fact that these little timers produce terrible turkeys, they aren’t completely useless. These little plastic temperature indicators actually have a really terrific survival use that most are completely unaware of! Trust us… skip using them for turkeys, wash them off and throw them in your survival kits!
Why you ask? Did you know that you can actually use these little pop-up turkey timers as water pasteurization indicators (WAPIs) to let you know when your water is hot enough to have killed all pathogens without actually bringing it to a boil (see this page to learn why you would want to do this)! These little guys are designed to go off at 185° F which is actually 15° hotter than your water needs to be to kill all micro organisms (160° F is the temperature typically used to pasteurize milk, but 149° F is all it takes to kill pathogens in water)! Just drop one of these little guys in your container of water and heat until the indicator pops out letting you know that your water has reached 185° F and your water has been pasteurized!
Why would you want to do this you ask? Why not just boil? Did you know that the amount of fuel it takes to bring your water to 200° F… it actually takes that much fuel again just to raise your water those additional unnecessary 12° it takes to bring water to its boiling point?? 149° F is all that is required to kill all waterborne pathogens! Why on earth would you use more than twice as much fuel just to bring your water to 212° F?? That is a colossal waste of fuel, not to mention the waste of time in additional heating and cooling down again so that your water is drinkable! For more on boiling vs. water pasteurization, check out our How Long Do You REALLY Have To Boil Water to Make It Safe To Drink page.
Did you know that these little pop-up turkey timers are actually reusable? Just reheat the tip, push the pop-up indicator back in and allow to cool so the button stays in and you are ready for your next water pasteurization session!
Once the blue indicator is again depressed, I then
run the tip of our timer under cold water to cool
the metal or wax so that it once again retains
the blue indicator.
As you can see, our improvised pop-up turkey
timer water pasteurization indicator has been
reset and is ready to use again!
Just as a precaution, we would recommend that you do a similar test on your stove top to verify the actual activation temperature of any pop-up turkey timer that you intend to use for water pasteurization and be fully familiar with it. That being said, turkey timers in general do the same thing at very similar temperatures so even without a test like this you should be able to safely and reliably use a pop-up turkey timer as a water pasteurization indicator!