Safety First: Part 1

What’s the best way to cool down food quickly? Better pay attention so you can avoid potential bacterial growth which can lead to food-borne illnesses.  We all know what its like to end up in the bathroom all night from “something we ate.”  I will be sharing a lot more tips on food safety as my blog progresses, but I thought this one was important enough to share right away.  Refrigerators were designed to keep cold foods cold, not as a cooling device for hot foods. So basically, cool down hot foods as quickly as possible BEFORE putting in the fridge. Otherwise you might also raise the fridge temp, putting the rest of your items in danger. The standard requirements for any food establishment:

Your fridge should be set at no higher than 41 degrees (ideally 37-40). This is because the temperature danger zone is 41-135. For large quantities of hot foods going into the fridge you should try to cool down within 6 hours of cooking (first 2 hours cool to 70 degrees, last 4 hours cool from 70 to 41 degrees):

1) Since most of you are not working in commercial kitchens, its not likely you will have large volumes of food to cool down, but if you do….break down foods so they are smaller. The smaller the item, the quicker it will cool down.

2) Soups and sauces seem to always take the longest. For rapid cooling, stir with an ice paddle or immerse your pot directly into an ice water bath.  Steam rising = moisture evaporating=cooling.

3) Always reheat hot foods to 165 degree internal temperature. I would invest in an instant-read thermometer. They are inexpensive (and this is coming from the student).

You can never be too safe with you health!

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