Any food dangers recycling or rolling older stews over into new stews 2-3 times?

By “rolling” I mean the following.

I made a lentil soup 2 weeks ago and bagged the extra and stored (not frozen) in the fridge. Last week took the lentil soup and added chicken and tomatoes to it to it. ate most and then bagged what was left over and put it in the fridge. This evening I made a vegetable and chicken broth stew and dumped the lentil chicken into it.

If I am cooking the new admixture thoroughly each time is there any issues with going this?

How many days old is the “old” portion? I typically only let stuff sit in the fridge for 3 days max before throwing it out/eating it; especially chicken-based stuff.

how long refrigerated meat is good for depends on who you ask. you will find some saying 3 days others maybe a week. even if the old amount is small you are adding it to new stuff, if bacteria is in the old stuff it will inoculate the new stuff.

Soups and stews can be maintained indefinitely if they are properly refrigerated and brought to at least 145 degrees for 10 minutes or more every two days. The chance of mishandling the goop at some point goes up in an extended store/heat/reuse cycle, but the careful cook should be able to “roll forward” a soup almost indefinitely.

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.

This used to be the norm.


Good lord, I think back then they just threw everything in a pot, heating it occasionally to drive the demons away. A simple gruel consisting mainly of rye or barley. Nothing was wasted. YAY!

I would not continue to do what your are doing Astro.

My rule is freeze once (individual servings) and that’s it. Also, anything that gets thawed out should be eaten that day or thrown out.

The danger is cross contamination. If something goes bad in one of them. Anything from using tainted meat to you mishandling it in one way or another, you’ll be carrying that over to the next pot. Dumping the stew and cleaning the pot/utensils is a good way to stop that from happening.

If you go to a restaurant that serves soup they’ll usually have the same soup on from one day to the next if they have a good amount left over or maybe the have one or two soups that they always have, but no matter what they do almost every restaurant will, at some point, dump their soups so they have a chance to wash the soup kettle and ladle. That way if there is something in there that’s making people sick, they don’t just keep doing it forever (or until they hear about it), it gets stopped at some point.

Now, I know, most bacteria/germs/pathogens should get killed above a certain temperature, but most homeowners don’t know these temperatures, don’t temp their foods and don’t move them through the danger zone in less then two hours…which, for a stew, depending on the size of the batch may require an ice wand or, at the very least stirring every 10-15 minutes if it’s in the fridge.

@AmateurBarbarian. It’s true, you only need to get beef (I’m assuming beef stew) to 145, but then you have to get it from 135 to 41 in less then two hours. Then, when re-heating, you have to get it from 41-135 in less then two hours, THEN you have to get it to 165 and maintain it over 145.

That danger zone thing is what’s important, it’s in that range that the bacteria can grow the fastest. So, if something gets in there and you cool it too slowly, the bacteria can multiply very quickly. Then you reheat some of it in a microwave the next day to, say 130, and you end up sick.

I’d be very wary of doing that. Bacteria may well be killed by thorough re-heating, but it’s what bacteria can produce while hanging out on/in your food that is NOT killed by heat (NYT article).

(I will say that, while I definitely am cautious with food poisoning, I’m comfortable with far looser/more lax food protocols than the article describes).

Additionally, Staphylococcus aureus also produces toxins that remain even if the staph is killed