frying chicken, seafood, etc.

by Zoila
(Lake Charles, LA)

Most recipes call for oil to be at a depth of 1, 1 1/2, 2 ,3 inches deep. If I am using a 12 in. cast iron skillet or a 5 qt. Dutch oven, how many cups of oil is that? I also have a question about candy thermometers. I know that you can't let the bulb touch the bottom of the pot, what size pot should I use and how can I keep it from touching the bottom?

Hey there Zoila!

Dutch ovens come in a variety of dimensions so even though they may hold the same amount of liquid, there is no way to figure out how much oil it will take to make one inch or three inches if all you know is that it is a 5-quart dutch oven. As for your 12-inch skillet, I've never measured it but here's a way to figure it out:

Using your skillet or dutch oven and a measuring cup, fill your measuring cup with water and pour it into the skillet/dutch oven until your water reaches the desired height and then you'll know. Pretty clever, huh? I can't take credit for it, it was Papa's idea.

You did peaked my curiosity though, so I did measure it for my 12-inch skillet and it took about 7 1/2 cups to reach 1 inch.

Now for the candy. Copper pots are actually best for candy making because they distribute the heat more evenly than anything else but they are also quite expensive. Since I don't make candy that often, I've always just used a heavy bottom Stainless Steel dutch oven. You'll want to make sure that it is a good size (the pot I use is 6-quarts) because candy usually "grows" when cooking and you don't want it to run over the side.

You will need a special thermometer that is especially for making candy or for deep frying. Most candy thermometers come with a clip on the back to clip it to the side of the pot so that it doesn't touch the bottom and will stay out of your way while stirring. If yours doesn't have a clip, I would recommend that you invest in one with a clip. You should be able to pick one up for around $10.

Be very careful when making candy. Sugar syrup can be dangerous when boiling because it is extremely hot and it will burn. Sugar melts at 320 degrees, and can be heated up to 350 degrees F. To give you an idea of just how dangerous it can be, water boils at 212 degrees F. If you have youngins' make sure they stay out of the kitchen when you are making candy!

I hope this has helped!

Warm Dishes,

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