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Old 05-26-2009, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
11,521 posts, read 9,705,827 times
Reputation: 14730

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I have polled people at work: You make a big stockpot of chicken soup. When is safe to put it into the refrigerator or freezer. Some say, put it into the refrigirator immediately, other say cool first, then put it into the refrigerator.

I made a big stock pot of chicken soup last week (with broccoli, beer, onions, peas, carrots). After I was through, I went to bed and when I awoke I went downstairs, and the stockpot was still hot, waiting for it to cool down. Another hour later, and it was bubbling like a volcano! None of it was edible!

I drained off the juice, put the rest into a plastic bag. A half hour later, the bag blew up like a big baloon and I stabbed it with a knife to let the air out. Horrible, horrible smell. Into the trashbarrel.

One other time, I made Ham and Pea soup, put it into freezer containers after it cooled down, and before long the lids blew off in the freezer. Had to throw it all away! And I also cooked it with beer. The beer, maybe?

Why such a debate on this issue? Do you really have to wait for it too cool off before refrigerating it, or is it all dependent on the ingredients?

The day before the Chicken fiasco, I made a big pot of chili, left it out all night, then refrigerated it, but no problems whatsoever!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
2,110 posts, read 1,987,708 times
Reputation: 2433
Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
I have polled people at work: You make a big stockpot of chicken soup. When is safe to put it into the refrigerator or freezer. Some say, put it into the refrigirator immediately, other say cool first, then put it into the refrigerator.

I made a big stock pot of chicken soup last week (with broccoli, beer, onions, peas, carrots). After I was through, I went to bed and when I awoke I went downstairs, and the stockpot was still hot, waiting for it to cool down. Another hour later, and it was bubbling like a volcano! None of it was edible!

I drained off the juice, put the rest into a plastic bag. A half hour later, the bag blew up like a big baloon and I stabbed it with a knife to let the air out. Horrible, horrible smell. Into the trashbarrel.

One other time, I made Ham and Pea soup, put it into freezer containers after it cooled down, and before long the lids blew off in the freezer. Had to throw it all away! And I also cooked it with beer. The beer, maybe?

Why such a debate on this issue? Do you really have to wait for it too cool off before refrigerating it, or is it all dependent on the ingredients?

The day before the Chicken fiasco, I made a big pot of chili, left it out all night, then refrigerated it, but no problems whatsoever!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
It's a very, very bad idea to leave food out all night, the amount of bacteria in it will make you extremely sick!!! You do not need to wait for food to cool down according to my Microbiology professor, it should be frozen/refrigerated IMMEDIATELY!!!
Good luck!
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:55 PM
 
Location: GLAMA
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I put the pot of soup/stew/sauce/whatever in the fridge as soon as I'm able to touch the side of the pan without drawing back in pain.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:42 AM
 
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The quickest way I've found to cool things down is to put the pot in the sink and use a cold water bath to pull the heat out.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:48 AM
 
Location: GLAMA
16,587 posts, read 20,162,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
One other time, I made Ham and Pea soup, put it into freezer containers after it cooled down, and before long the lids blew off in the freezer. Had to throw it all away! And I also cooked it with beer. The beer, maybe?
No. I cook with beer all the time without that reaction. I don't do any transferring into storage containers until the pot of stuff has assumed the inside temp of the reefer. Usually I wait a couple of days before transferring. By that time, not only is everything nice and cold, the flavors have had that much more time to sit there and meld. I'm sure you know how leftover soups, sauces and stews usually taste better after they've chilled for at least 24 hours.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
6,589 posts, read 10,123,979 times
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I'm not sure if you really mean the containers in the freezer blew off because the food exploded, or if you overfilled them and the liquid expanded when it froze and lifted the lid off.

I agree with everybody else. If you're really worried about refrigerating very hot food, cooling the pot down in the sink is a great idea.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:08 AM
 
Location: The Raider Nation._ Our band kicks brass
1,856 posts, read 5,892,409 times
Reputation: 2170
Large stocks should be divided into smaller portions, and cooled as quickly as possible.

The danger zone is from 41F to 135F. Four hours within that zone is the max. Cold water and ice around a pan is good for quick cooling. Ice packs inserted in the middle help too. Anything to get that temp down. A large pot of sauce in the fridge will stay in that danger zone all night. That is why it is important to divide.

Here is a quick scenario for you. Grandma is making macaroni salad for your picnic. She cooked eggs, and boiled the noodles. She drains the soft noodles, mixes in her chopped eggs, and then stirs in the mayo. She pops it into the fridge for tomorrow.

By the end of your party, there is a line to the bathroom, the the toilet is clogged, and people are talking about how the macaroni salad went bad sitting on your table all day. They will blame it on the mayo. They will also be wrong.

Granny ruined the salad the day before. All of the ingredients should have been chilled before mixing together. Mayo doesn't go bad, but it did act like an insulator that held in the heat from the hot noodles. The eggs, and the cooked pasta are what spoiled, and ruined your picnic.

Everybody should study safe food handling techniques. This is just one of many links from a Google search. Safe Food Handling Practices - 10 Simple Tips for Cooking At Home (http://ezinearticles.com/?Safe-Food-Handling-Practices---10-Simple-Tips-for-Cooking-At-Home&id=70761 - broken link)
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
6,589 posts, read 10,123,979 times
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Interesting, thanks for all the info.

I didn't realize people were putting a whole huge pot of something hot in the fridge. I always portion things into 4 cup containers and freeze most of it right away if I made a huge batch of something.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Beautiful N. C.
5,007 posts, read 2,969,446 times
Reputation: 6690
The above posters are all correct. After making 8 qts. of gravy, meatballs & sausage the other day, I immediately separated them in containers and put them in the freezer. I also made stuffed cabbage, cooled the rice completely before adding it to the chop meat and egg. I never leave food on the stove over night. Safe practice of handling food is essential for health.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Bugtussle, near Atlanta
423 posts, read 1,111,746 times
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I agree with previous posters on the importance of rapid cooling techniques and the use of smaller containers for portioning large batches. One additional consideration is the shape of the smaller containers and placement in the fridge or other cooling medium/device to accelerate cooling time. Thinner, flatter (or taller and narrower) containers will permit for more rapid cooling than containers whose exterior dimensions are about equal because the distance to the center of the hot food is reduced. Those large margarine/spread tubs many people like to use are much slower than flat or tall plastic containers in effecting the heat exchange necessary for safe cooldown. If you maximize the exposed surface area you accelerate cooling ability and speed.
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