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Old 08-18-2008, 04:11 PM   #11
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Maybe this will help: US FDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:46 AM   #12
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2 + 2 = 4

If you can remember that 2 + 2 = 4, you can remember the basic rules for storing leftovers in your fridge:

2 Hours from oven to refrigerator: Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours of cooking the food. Otherwise throw it away.

2 Inches thick to cool it quick: Store food at a shallow depth - about 2 inches - to speed chilling.


4 Days in the refrigerator - otherwise freeze it: Use leftovers from the refrigerator within 4 days, except stuffing and gravy, which should be used within 2 days.


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Old 09-21-2008, 05:25 AM   #13
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Nice rules and I'm sure we all agree with them
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:14 PM   #14
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I didn't see anyone mention the reason this whole thing about not putting hot foods in the refrigerator got started in the first place.

Back before there were refrigerators, there were iceboxes. Put hot food in an icebox, the ice melts more quickly, and if the ice melts too quickly, all the food in the icebox may go bad before the iceman comes around to deliver another block. So food had to be left to cool before it could go in the icebox.

Even then, much as now, there were people who didn't bother to wonder why they shouldn't put hot food in the icebox, they just knew they weren't supposed to. I know, it may seem obvious, but then, a lot of things do, don't they? :)

Fast-forward a few years, and envision little Sally asking her mother why she shouldn't put hot food in the refrigerator, and her mother telling her "You just shouldn't." Or, another one I heard once: "Because it will go sour." Whatever that means. It's just a carry-over from the icebox days, something their mother or grandmother taught them, which is no longer valid because of new technology. Of course, you still shouldn't park a giant red-hot cauldron of chili right up against your milk. And because heat rises, it is a good idea to put hot foods on the top shelf; if put on the bottom, they will be heating everything above them. Oh, and never put a ceramic container, like the liner of your crock pot, for instance, in the refrigerator while it is still hot; it will most likely break.


The bit about food going "sour," by the way, was from an old girlfriend, whose mother had apparently been full of cooking myths and quite devoid of logic. She would invariably throw out partial cans of olives and anything else like that that I neglected to put in other containers. Though when asked why, she didn't really know. "You just can't store things in cans in the refrigerator," she would say, while looking at me as though my foolishness would eventually poison us both.

That myth, I'm sure, grew out of a misguided fear of botulism. Not that the fear of botulism is misguided, but the fear of the method by which it might be contracted. Any canned food stored on a shelf that bursts or is otherwise breached needs to be thrown out due to the near certainty of botulism, but that simply does not apply to intact canned goods that are opened, partially used, then refrigerated. If it did, we'd have to re-package ketchup, once we opened it. :)
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:35 PM   #15
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Tin cans, once opened, would start having a chemical reaction with the food and air that would transfer the metal taste to the food. You can still experience that but most acidic foods now have a coating on the inside to prevent such.

I'm not aware of any misguided fear of Botulism, though I am aware of a cavalier disregard for the seriousness of it because, like lightning strikes, your chance of it is still quite rare....but it does strike.

You won't find Botulism in an open bottle of ketchup because its a high-acid food product and usually has bunches of food preservatives in it. Homemade products without the preservatives will see higher instances of bacterias, molds, yeasts and fungi, if not kept properly refrigerated. Conditions that favor botulism include a high-moisture, low-salt, low-acid environment in which food is stored without oxygen or refrigeration.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnerd View Post
You won't find Botulism in an open bottle of ketchup because its a high-acid food product and usually has bunches of food preservatives in it. Homemade products without the preservatives will see higher instances of bacterias, molds, yeasts and fungi, if not kept properly refrigerated. Conditions that favor botulism include a high-moisture, low-salt, low-acid environment in which food is stored without oxygen or refrigeration.
If I found a bottle of ketchup on an unrefrigerated shelf that had been breached, I wouldn't use it, would you? Are you saying botulism can't occur in ketchup?
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:11 PM   #17
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Many many many people store ketchup on he shelf, opened. It is not necessary to store ketchup in the fridge.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnerd View Post
Well, that link puts the arguement to rest!! I've never had a problem with putting hot food straight in the fridge, and as the linked article states, putting food in the fridge still hot has no effect on the fridges temperature. In fact
Quote:
We found putting a hot cheesecake in the refrigerator to have less of an effect on the temperature than adding a new batch of groceries from the store.
I just make sure I put a cloth of some sort on the glass shelf to protect it against the hot dish, and I never have a problem.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:29 PM   #19
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I would not say that article puts anything to rest.

First off, they were only testing a cheesecake. There is a HUGE difference between putting a hot cheesecake in the cold fridge and putting a large stockpot full of boiling soup in the fridge.

Secondly the article says that the temp on the top shelf only went up 3 degrees F. The problem though is that most fridges hover around 37 degrees F so raising it 3 degrees puts it at 40F which is the beginning of the danger zone.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:38 PM   #20
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Well, yes, I suppose a cheesecake is different to a pot of hot stock, you're right there. I generally do let things sit on the bench until clean up time, but when I do casseroles with meat in them I put them in hot with the lid on as long as I put a teatowel down. One day we forgot to, and had to throw away a whole roast chicken (minus the legs that we'd eaten), so to avoid that I put it in fairly quickly, plus I'd rather not take chances with cooked animal meat.
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