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#1
04-26-2005, 03:07 PM
 chappachula Guest Join Date: May 2002
how long to wait before putting hot food in the fridge?

So I'm home alone and just baked a casserole (mix of potatoes and ground beef in a baking dish), for tomorrow's dinner .
I remove it piping hot from the oven. Now what?

He says: put it in the refrigerator.
She says: let it cool first. Putting very hot stuff inside is bad for the fridge.

He says: but it's nighttime, I'm tired and going to bed.If I fall asleep, the food will sit out overnight.

So how long should it wait? What effect is there on the refrigerator when adding a steaming hot dish? How long should freshly cooked meat be left unrefrigerated?
#2
04-26-2005, 03:13 PM
 CynicalGabe Guest Join Date: Nov 2004
Cover it, but leave one cover open, so air can escape. Letting it cool 10-15 minutes or so should be sufficient. I (as a ServeSafe certified kitchen nazi) would be more concerned about rising heat causing food above it to spoil. You can solve this by placing it on the top shelf.
#3
04-26-2005, 03:14 PM
 GorillaMan Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
The sooner it's cooled, the better. The 'danger zone' is from above room temperature through to somewhere around 60 celsius - this is the temperature at which bacteria thrives best. Cooling it through this zone as quickly as possible is the best approach.

'Bad for the fridge'? I'd like to see some evidence for that. What you do need to be careful of, however, is not putting it close to other items in the fridge, because warming them up would be rather counterproductive!
#4
04-26-2005, 03:19 PM
 Spatial Rift 47 Guest Join Date: Dec 2000
This is a thermodynamics question, and what's in question is the continued ability of your refrigerator to move heat from one place to another. I'm just now finishing up a high level undergraduate course in thermodynamics, and the only difference is that your refrigerator will have to use that much more energy to bring the casserole down to the fridge's previous ambient temperature. This in turn means that the refrigerator would draw more electricity--or rather, draw electricity at the same rate it usually does, but for a longer period of time--in order for the cooling agent to absorb all the heat coming off of the casserole and release it into the air behind the fridge. So the only effects are that your electric bill will go up slightly, and the air in your kitchen will be just a little bit warmer.
#5
04-26-2005, 03:52 PM
 Balthisar Charter Member Join Date: Nov 2000 Location: Nanjing, China Posts: 8,911
Keep in mind that aside from your fridge cycling more, other food will warm up.

Take some ice out of the ice maker, toss it into your cooler, and drop the casserole on top of it. It'll cool quick enough for you to go to bed.

For stocks or wort, I like my trick: I have a needle valve on the cold water pipe in the laundry tub. Screw on your 15' length of coiled copper tube, drop it into your cauldron, and turn on the cold water. You'll be surprise how effective it is -- the cold water comes out very hot, and it only takes a couple of minutes to drop the wort down to pitching temperature. If you're doing wort, though, sanitize the copper first! For stocks (or beans or other liquidy stuff), just clean is good enough.
#6
04-26-2005, 04:01 PM
 Chefguy Charter Member Join Date: Jun 2003 Location: Portlandia Posts: 26,174
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Balthisar Keep in mind that aside from your fridge cycling more, other food will warm up. Take some ice out of the ice maker, toss it into your cooler, and drop the casserole on top of it. It'll cool quick enough for you to go to bed. For stocks or wort, I like my trick: I have a needle valve on the cold water pipe in the laundry tub. Screw on your 15' length of coiled copper tube, drop it into your cauldron, and turn on the cold water. You'll be surprise how effective it is -- the cold water comes out very hot, and it only takes a couple of minutes to drop the wort down to pitching temperature. If you're doing wort, though, sanitize the copper first! For stocks (or beans or other liquidy stuff), just clean is good enough.
What the heck is 'wort' and why would I pitch it at someone?
#7
04-26-2005, 04:18 PM
 Squink Guest Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chefguy What the heck is 'wort' and why would I pitch it at someone?
"Brewers call the practice of adding yeast to wort 'pitching', although it most often is done by pumping yeast into the cooled, aerated wort stream as it..."

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