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AToE
10-19-2011, 12:48 AM
But lots to do with microbes. I'm looking for some opinions here on making a big pot of stew, and every day pulling it out of the fridge, bringing it to a simmer for at least 10 minutes, actually bubbling and boiling for probably 5 minutes. Then serve a bowl, put lid on and immediately back into the fridge.

I think this is safe for me to do indefinitely, but wouldn't mind a second (or several) opinion. I know it'd be good in there for almost a week for sure without any reheating, so if I'm boiling it daily I don't see how it could possibly spoil.

But maybe I'm wrong - that's why I decided to ask the microbe experts I happen to know. ;)

Echostatic
10-19-2011, 12:51 AM
Wouldn't boiling kill anything harmful?

Chevette Girl
10-19-2011, 01:31 AM
Reheating your whole pot of stew each day could affect the taste, depending on how the stew was thickened... I always seem to burn the bottom when reheating nice thick stews on the stove so I generally microwave it a bowl at a time and freeze anything I won't eat within a week. You'd probably use less energy too, if you reheated only what you need that day rather than reheating the whole thing and then making your fridge work overtime...

I've heard of chili pots that have been on the burner for years, they just kept adding more ingredients... but then, I had a tall stock pot with chili simmering with the lid off and a piece of celery near the top started growing fuzz.

AToE
10-19-2011, 02:36 AM
I usually end up eating it all before a week is out anyways, I was largely just curious to see if my reasoning was sound. ;D

Guinlilly
10-19-2011, 10:16 AM
Back in the old days they kept a pot of stew on the fire pretty much all the time just adding to it. I don't think it would be a problem.

Noe Palacios
10-19-2011, 10:57 AM
But lots to do with microbes. I'm looking for some opinions here on making a big pot of stew, and every day pulling it out of the fridge, bringing it to a simmer for at least 10 minutes, actually bubbling and boiling for probably 5 minutes. Then serve a bowl, put lid on and immediately back into the fridge.

I think this is safe for me to do indefinitely, but wouldn't mind a second (or several) opinion. I know it'd be good in there for almost a week for sure without any reheating, so if I'm boiling it daily I don't see how it could possibly spoil.

But maybe I'm wrong - that's why I decided to ask the microbe experts I happen to know. ;)

You can do for a time, but there's always risk. The problem are not the microbes, the problem are the toxins the leave, you can kill the microbes every time you reheat your stew, but the toxins will remain and in the end the toxins concentration will reach to dangerous levels, how long it will take, I don't know, but believe me, that day will come.

That's why there are frozen, canned and vacuum packaged food, to allow us to cook and eat the right amount of food every time we need.

Saludos

Braxton
10-19-2011, 01:34 PM
Boiling kills some things, but not everything. I seem to recall from canning experience that it will not kill spores, so there are some bacteria that will simply pop back up again once the temperature goes down. In food handling regulations for restaurants, I think the time to cool back down is a major focus. So if you put it in the fridge, and it slowly gets down to 50 degrees over the course of 18 hours, there's a good long amount of time where the food is in the range of temperatures that are most susceptible to bacterial growth. If you can lower the temperature faster, say by having a colder fridge, then you avoid that some of that growth phase for bacteria and wind up with a more stable product. I worry that taking it out and reheating it will simply give the bacteria more and more time in this more risky temperature level (given that you aren't killing the spores). Constantly boiling something avoids the bacterial growth temperatures altogether and should be fine. But the temperature would have to be high throughout the dish.

In the end, if it tastes gross or has fuzzy bits, don't eat it.

mccann51
10-19-2011, 04:02 PM
Why are you taking out the whole pot of stew for reheating if you're only eating a bowl or two (if nothing else, seems like a waste of gas)? Why not just ladle out a bowl or two and reheat that?

AToE
10-19-2011, 04:36 PM
That's what I normally do, I was more just curious if my occasional lazy way of doing it was as safe as I thought it was. ;)

caffeine211
10-20-2011, 12:50 AM
...my occasional lazy way...

Ahh... the power of laziness.

schlapppy
10-20-2011, 08:10 AM
i think you will be fine... but putting hot stuff back in the fridge (especially a large pot of hot stuff) will warm everything around it. That may shorten the shelf life of things around it. Plus your electricity bill will be higher, as your fridge needs to work much harder.

Loadnabox
10-20-2011, 09:08 AM
Chef Ramsey also points out that you need to bring the temperature down slowly to preserve tomato flavors (which is the opposite of the above mentioned food safety reasons for bringing it down fast)

Garlic and/or tomato will turn bitter if you cool the food off quickly.

Dan McFeeley
10-20-2011, 12:35 PM
That's what I normally do, I was more just curious if my occasional lazy way of doing it was as safe as I thought it was. ;)

Seems that this is the crux of the issue. ;D

It's just as lazy to ladle a few dabs of stew into a bowl, simmer over the stove or nuke it in a microwave, as it is to pull the whole pot out of the fridge, heat and then ladle a few dabs to a bowl.

I'd opt for the first lazy method, well, just to confess, that is my preferred method. ;D

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Chevette Girl
10-20-2011, 04:18 PM
I'd opt for the first lazy method, well, just to confess, that is my preferred method. ;D

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:) Depends on whether said ladle a) fits in the pot in the fridge so I can keep re-using it, or b) fits in the dishwasher so it's clean the next time ;)

Medsen Fey
10-20-2011, 06:39 PM
While we often do the same thing that you do, Alan, it isn't really recommended. There are organisms such as staphylococcus and some E. Coli among others that can produce heat-stable toxins that can cause bad food poisoning. Infants, the elderly, and folks who have chronic medical problems are more likely to experience problems. Some organisms can still survive and grow in a fridge (You've undoubtedly seen milk turn sour, mold grow on cheese and old cold cuts, and nasty fungal things in an old container of yogurt while in the fridge) so it isn't the same thing as freezing.

You pays your money. You takes your chances.

Dan McFeeley
10-20-2011, 07:17 PM
In so many words, sounds like Medson is voting for my preferred lazy method. ;D

It's safer, and you can still be lazy, and safe. ;D

But I've read other accounts of the stock pot kept going in a busy and large family, old accounts, no one died or got sick (at least, not *too* sick). That's probably the key factor, a busy family, with stock pot never still.

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TheAlchemist
10-21-2011, 01:18 PM
Getting a little bit sick can be good for the immune system;)

huesmann
10-21-2011, 02:57 PM
Back in the old days they kept a pot of stew on the fire pretty much all the time just adding to it. I don't think it would be a problem.
Back in the old days life expectancy was also a lot shorter. ;)

fatbloke
10-21-2011, 03:04 PM
Heating the whole pot is not only dodgey from a food safety POV, but its also a waste of energy, heating it all, scoffing some then letting the rest cool.

Why not just make the batch of stew then "bottle" it in plassy bags that can be tied off and slung in the freezer, then if you get pissed off with it, you can just leave unused portions in the freezer

AToE
10-21-2011, 03:48 PM
That's pretty much what I do, I just use empty containers from stuff like cottage cheese.

Chevette Girl
10-21-2011, 04:40 PM
That's pretty much what I do, I just use empty containers from stuff like cottage cheese.

I fidn my plastic bags get scuffed and they leak if I thaw them before heating...

However, I actually have this adorable little crock pot that pretty much EXACTLY fits the contents of one cottage cheese container of soup, pop it in frozen solid before coffee break at work and it's piping hot by lunch... for stews I have to add a little water and for frozen pasta, a lot of water...