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Old 09-14-2006, 10:57 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
Cooked rice is potentially hazardous and should be handled carefully. Once it's cooked, it has to be maintained at 140 degrees. If it should cool below that temperature, you have 2 hours to consume it or reheat it above 165 (quickly) and then hold it at 140 again.
Normally, professionally, I would never suggest saving cooked rice. First, it's so cheap to begin with, a little waste is not that bad. Second, unless you chill it quickly you run risks of food borne illness. If you want to save cooked rice spread it thinly onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it immediately. Stir it every 20 minutes or so until it is cooled, completely. Then, wrap it and use within 24 hours.
I love my big fuzzy logic rice cooker, but I would never think to keep rice in it more than a few hours. That said, I'm curious about your statement that cooked rice should not be stored below 140 degrees for more than two hours. My refrigerator's default temperature is 37 degrees. I could understand the caution about keeping rice at room temp or not cold enough, but why would keeping it cool (or below 149) cause rice to spoil?

I've never actually wanted to save cooked rice by itself, but I often refrigerate casseroles or other dishes that include cooked rice. Does your recommendation extend to them as well?
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:20 PM   #22
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Hi SuzyQ

Your fridge is set at the right temp. The problem you'd encounter with saving some casserole or stew or anything else that is 'thick' is that it usually doesn't cool fast enough. People tend to just put the whatever is left directly into the fridge, still in the pan it was baked in, or it may be transfered to a tupperware with a nice tight fitting lid...

When you are holding food for consumption it has to be kept at a minimum of 140. If you then place it into the fridge for another day, you have to get it at or below 40 within two hours. The best way to do this is to transfer whatever is left to shallow pans, spreading it thinly and putting it into the fridge unwrapped and out of the way of anything dripping into it.

I've heard of people leaving things on the counter till it cooled a bit before putting it into the fridge. This practice, like many others that have been discussed here, is like having TNT in your home.

So many people do right by themselves. They exercise, they get plenty of rest, they drink lots of water, they go to the dentist and physician, they wear seatbelts, they drive with extra caution during inclement weather...yet so many also don't believe that eventually, improper handling of food during all stages will lead to a food borne illness on some level.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have. I think you are doing right by yourself in seeking these answers.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:41 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
Hi SuzyQ

Your fridge is set at the right temp. The problem you'd encounter with saving some casserole or stew or anything else that is 'thick' is that it usually doesn't cool fast enough. People tend to just put the whatever is left directly into the fridge, still in the pan it was baked in, or it may be transfered to a tupperware with a nice tight fitting lid...

When you are holding food for consumption it has to be kept at a minimum of 140. If you then place it into the fridge for another day, you have to get it at or below 40 within two hours. The best way to do this is to transfer whatever is left to shallow pans, spreading it thinly and putting it into the fridge unwrapped and out of the way of anything dripping into it.

I've heard of people leaving things on the counter till it cooled a bit before putting it into the fridge. This practice, like many others that have been discussed here, is like having TNT in your home.

So many people do right by themselves. They exercise, they get plenty of rest, they drink lots of water, they go to the dentist and physician, they wear seatbelts, they drive with extra caution during inclement weather...yet so many also don't believe that eventually, improper handling of food during all stages will lead to a food borne illness on some level.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have. I think you are doing right by yourself in seeking these answers.
Funny thing, VB: I actually read your original post and somehow changed your 140, which was right there in print as clear as day, to 40 in my mind. So my whole post made virtually no sense whatsoever.

As for those casseroles I mentioned, I usually let one sit out for about an hour before refrigerating. What do you think?
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Old 09-15-2006, 06:09 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzyQ3
Funny thing, VB: I actually read your original post and somehow changed your 140, which was right there in print as clear as day, to 40 in my mind. So my whole post made virtually no sense whatsoever.

As for those casseroles I mentioned, I usually let one sit out for about an hour before refrigerating. What do you think?
Bad girl, bad girl....

As soon as you finish dinner, cut the casserole down to more managable sizes, or if it's stew like, pour it onto a baking sheet (like a cookie sheet) and refrigerate it immediately. The thinner or smaller the pieces, the more surface space is exposed to the chilling effects of your fridge. If you leave it on the counter for an hour, that's an hour of cooling time you have wasted. Remember, you only have two hours to get the whole thing to or below 40.
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Old 09-15-2006, 07:59 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
pour it onto a baking sheet (like a cookie sheet) and refrigerate it immediately.
If you do this though, wouldn't the hot food that you are putting in the fridge raise the temp of the fridge above 40 putting everything else into the danger zone potentially? I was always taught to cool food as quickly as possible outside of the fridge before sticking it in. The food does not have to be cold, but should not be hot when it goes in.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:58 AM   #26
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If you do this though, wouldn't the hot food that you are putting in the fridge raise the temp of the fridge above 40 putting everything else into the danger zone potentially? I was always taught to cool food as quickly as possible outside of the fridge before sticking it in. The food does not have to be cold, but should not be hot when it goes in.
The increase in temperature is usually minimal, no more than a few degrees.
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Old 09-23-2006, 03:00 AM   #27
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riced cooked once a week??? that is one crazy idea. I dont find cooking on the cooker takes alot of time that cant be done daily
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Old 09-27-2006, 02:56 PM   #28
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VeraBlue,

The guidelines you share seem quite strict for a home setting. I'm sure they are appropriate for a professional setting, where legalities and reputation are concerned, and much appreciated! I also recognise it's all based on a gamble; to get sick or get away with it. But as long as good kitchen hygiene and food prep is practiced, I can't see the need to sound alarms. My 20+ family on Thanksgiving would faint if I cleared the counters in the middle of the day. Dairy does go to the fridge but there's no room for anything else.
The only food-borne illnesses I've ever witnessed were pegged to restaurants, not home kitchens.
Jaye (long-time nurse)
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Old 09-28-2006, 04:35 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaye Lewis
VeraBlue,

The guidelines you share seem quite strict for a home setting. I'm sure they are appropriate for a professional setting, where legalities and reputation are concerned, and much appreciated! I also recognise it's all based on a gamble; to get sick or get away with it. But as long as good kitchen hygiene and food prep is practiced, I can't see the need to sound alarms. My 20+ family on Thanksgiving would faint if I cleared the counters in the middle of the day. Dairy does go to the fridge but there's no room for anything else.
The only food-borne illnesses I've ever witnessed were pegged to restaurants, not home kitchens.
Jaye (long-time nurse)
I have to admit I'm in full agreement here, however, VeraBlue I also want to assure you that YOU would be my caterer of choice presuming you 'do as you preach' because I definitely want to know that food I eat from 'foreign hands' has been handled as you propose, i.e., conservatively, erring on the side of safety.

But, I still feel there's a valid point being made by any number of us -- like Jaye, above, and like a group of us who live outside of the U.S. for whom USDA & CDC guidelines are just plain ... not irrelevant, not impractical ... I suppose, foreign?

On the canning forum I was involved in discussions regarding USDA guidelines, and, specifically, "USDA-approved for safety" recipes, and I'm sure many similar discussions preceeded those, food safety discussions being popular here, I gather. Still, canning or leaving food on the counter to cool, the root issue's the same -- avoiding being harmed by the food we handle.

Here's my thought: the U.S. has become one mighty litigious place to live, surely that's a fact we can all agree on (and no, for those of you who haven't lived outside the U.S., it's NOT that way elsewhere!). Because of that fact, instructions have popped up all over the place, instructions meant primarily to safeguard the manufacturer (or advisor in the case of the USDA) from being sued for negligence. Don't misunderstand -- any number of these are good and valid ... however ... there are also any number of them which go overboard (we've all received the lists as e-mails, priceless ones like shirt labels which suggest ironing, but NOT ironing WHILE you're wearing the shirt!), providing "idiot-proof" instructions which the majority of us, not being idiots, don't need to engrave on our brains as irrefutable facts.

Seems to me no doubt that the safety guidelines we're hearing which would have us all icing down and taking the temperature of our leftovers, are meant to protect us all. A Good Thing.

However, there's also a school of thought which would say that getting a little bit of bacteria into our systems in order to build immunity is also A Good Thing. What seems key here is that the systems into which we're getting that bit of bacteria need to be fundamentally healthy systems, not immune-compromised systems -- not old people, not infants, not ill people. Those people are the few for whom the ultra-strict USDA guidelines should be adhered to to the letter, certainly by restaurants and caterers and the like, who can't possibly know the health of each person they feed.

It doesn't seem to be correct scientific method if a theory is proposed and then accepted as fact IF any number of real-life examples which counter that theory are simply discarded as irrelevant. They may be inconvenient, but they're fact -- bacteria multiplying in food left on the counter should theoretically make people sick ... but infact, in many cases, most certainly doesn't? How do you deduce that therefore, without a doubt, it's a fact that that food is dangerous? Is it a fact that bacteria has multiplied? Yes, probably it is. Is it a fact that therefore the presence of that increased bacteria WILL cause illness? I'd argue no.

If generation after generation has handled food in a certain way, and each generation has lived long enough to breed the next generation (who, no, aren't some kind of mutation), surely that counts for something, doesn't it?? Perhaps immunity builds up in each generation, and/or perhaps genetically over generations immunity is built up (however, foreigners like me moving into a community which cools its food on the counter and yet not getting ill, argue for the former).

With leftovers, including rice, certainly people should do as they believe, and if they're more comfortable with icing them before quickly refrigerating them, then by all means do. However, with the canning rules having been so strictly interpreted that generations of fine recipes will die out because they're not "USDA approved" ... that strikes me as a real pity, a true loss of culture, and truly unnecessary. Some common sense is in order, isn't it?
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