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Old 09-20-2006, 08:17 AM   #21
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I generally let things cool on the counter a short while before putting in the fridge, but it all depends on what I am making.

When I make a large batch of sauce that I will be freezing, I portion the sauce out in two cup amounts and place in ziplock bags. I lay these flat on the counter to cool. They cool down very quickly this way (much less than one hour). From there they go into the freezer.

I try not to put anything too hot directly in the fridge, but if it is still a little warm then I do not worry too much.
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:13 AM   #22
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Personally, I really have a problem sticking something warm into the fridge. First, I am concerned about other foods that would be sitting around or over it (our fridge is almost always very very full!!), second, I don't like the idea of raising the temperature inside unnecessarily.

When I need to speed up the cooling, it is easy during the winter, I just stick it outside the window and set it on top of the outside unit of the A/C for a while.
During the warmer period of the year, I use similar method as Beth uses, putting the container in a bigger container lined with cold water, putting ice cubes if necessary.

If I am indeed forced to put something still warm in the fridge in some rare circumstances, I do whatever I can to move away all the perishables from the side and over the offending item.
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:41 AM   #23
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I have to admit, I have a view similar to Ayrton's. And that comes from mom, a Doctor btw. But times were different then and are different in Greece today than they are in the US. We ship foods across the country in plastic and warehouse them. They are handled who knows how many times. Just look how long it took to track down the spinach issue and is it over yet?

We used to have a better idea of where our food came from and to what is was exposed. I certainly can't make that claim today even at fine stores like Whole Foods. That being the case, promoting and practicing food safety makes sense.

I will still eat at Ayrton's without qualms, however.
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:56 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410
I have to admit, I have a view similar to Ayrton's. And that comes from mom, a Doctor btw. But times were different then and are different in Greece today than they are in the US. We ship foods across the country in plastic and warehouse them. They are handled who knows how many times. Just look how long it took to track down the spinach issue and is it over yet?

We used to have a better idea of where our food came from and to what is was exposed. I certainly can't make that claim today even at fine stores like Whole Foods. That being the case, promoting and practicing food safety makes sense.

I will still eat at Ayrton's without qualms, however.
Ah, my hero ... and you're invited, too!

Times ARE different here, and I wouldn't trade them for what you have in the States, I admit. Every neighborhood here in Athens (and I'm sure every other sizeable city) has a neighborhood "farmer's market" one day of each week, rain or shine, summer or winter, usually running the length of maybe 8-10 city blocks. There we get truly fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, and seafood. No, there's no guarantee there are no chemicals used in raising them, or similar concerns -- we have our scandals too -- but Greek housewives are notoriously fussy in this regard.

I won't argue the cooling point as this is an attitude issue, I'm sure. You will feel unsafe if you were to leave food out, so for heaven's sake, do put it in the fridge. I just wish to make the wee little suggestion that there are many truths in this world and the way we were raised isn't always, necessarily, THE way.
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Old 09-20-2006, 11:51 AM   #25
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My mom always leaves food, even big batches, to cool down by itself for hours (in tropical climate, mind you). I grew up this way and I notice my stomach had gotten upset quite a few times and can only attribute it to this practice. Granted, I'm still alive today... :-)

Me, I always rapidly cool down food to be stored. This becomes especially important when preparing, say, a large batch of stew for entertaining the next day. The last thing I'd want is for our guests to get sick from my food. Horror of horrors! I could never, ever live that down and I therefore absolutely cannot take any chances...
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Old 09-20-2006, 12:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
I generally let things cool on the counter a short while before putting in the fridge, but it all depends on what I am making.
Instead of leaving my food on the counter, I put it in the pool of cold water. We do the same thing GB, but I think my method drops the temperature of the food more than just leaving it on the counter. And generally, the food I am dealing with is very warm and needs to have the temperature dropped some before placing it in the frig.

I have a permanent, lifetime certificate in food protection/food safety, but my schooling was over 20 years ago. I have mellowed in my standards over the years, and am grateful I no longer have the responsibility of making sure I did not knock off 100 elders with mishandeled foods. I must say that I have great sympathy for Aryton and Robo's position, which I lean toward more than the strict guidelines put forth by the authorities. I also used to work for the USDA and some of their guidelines were too much CYA ( I remember one time they issued a bulletin to boil fresh alfalfa sprouts before eating . In regards to the recent post of food left out all night and what to do with the food, for me, the most important factor was not given nor asked for. How long was the food out? Overnight is too vague. I take each case on an individual basis. Personally, I would have eaten the food if it had been out 6 hours or less, but not feed it to a toddler. I know my kitchen is clean, the food was covered, my system is acclimated to my micro organisms...... And I know where practically all my food comes from, we raise a great deal of the foods we eat. I have baby spinach plants in the garden and am happy I can eat spinach whenever I want.

And Licia, I understand your concern of not wanting to put hot food in a very full frig. That is why I started this thread, to generate ideas of how to cool foods.
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Old 09-20-2006, 12:52 PM   #27
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Thanks for your support and understanding, Beth!!

I forgot to mention another thing, when I do this "immerse in a cold water" method, a metal container works the best, that of plastic (i.e. tupperware) is the worst!
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Old 09-20-2006, 01:18 PM   #28
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Smile Cooking Foods To Refrigerate

I make sure that all my left overs are at a cool temperature before I put them in the frig. I use plastic cover to cover the bowls. I buy these covers at the market and they not only come in different sizes but also in different colors.

A suggestion for your casserole use the Crock Pot Liners and there will be not much of a mess to clean.

Jill and Jolie
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Old 09-20-2006, 03:23 PM   #29
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Refrigerating stock

My wife and I are empty nesters, and I love to cook.
I make large batches (sometimes as many as 12 servings) of whatever, and break them down into two serving portions and right into the freezer.

Making stock, however, is more of a challenge. It is most convenient to leave it in the large stock pot in order to skim the fat after it has chilled. After straining out the bones, etc. I re-simmer it to get the temperature up to kill any germs, then cover, and, in summer, put the whole pot into the sink with an upside down saucer underneath to allow cirulation on the bottom. I run cold tap water in that side of the sink and allow it to overflow into the other side. (Use enough saucers so the pot doesn't float, or you will end up with water in your stock - voice of experience)
I have used a thermocouple, and usually can get the stock down to 60 degrees, or so, in about half an hour, then into the old refrigerator in the basement set as cold as it goes. The fat on top gets hard and is really easy to remove the next day.

In the winter, the stock just goes in a snowbank outside the kitchen door.

If the cover is never opened, from boiling to freezing, I don't think there is much chance of contamination.
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Old 09-20-2006, 03:34 PM   #30
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One reason I use copper pots is that I can cool foods down quickly. Very responsive to hot and cold. ANd yes, snow banks are great when you got em, unless there are critters around too!
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