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Cooling food down in batches before storage


heidih
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As we often in busy times cook ahead on the weekend or in our free time I am wondering about tips and techniques to cool things down before storage. I made a batch of butternut squash soup today with lots of vegetables and also several sautes of protein and vegetable. I tried the nesting of the storage bowl in an ice bath and frequently stirring but am curious how others deal with the cool down and storage.

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I leave everything out on the counter semi-covered with the container cover, then walk away for a while. I've never tried to cool things down quickly. Interested in hearing some tips myself, actually.

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For a large stockpot full of soup, stock or whatever, I wrap the outside with an "Ice blanket" or two, and in the center of the pot sink a tall narrow container which I have filled with water and frozen ahead of time. I use an asparagus steamer for the really large stockpots. For the smaller ones I have a couple of the pasta storage containers, like these and I have a skinnier one that is made for storing round crackers, such as Ritz.

To secure the ice blankets, I use a strap with Velcro closure.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I don't think there would be any problem with food-grade plastics that are intended for prolonged use in contact with food.

The plastic leaching concern is about water bottles that are intended for single-use sales of water. Some carry a notice that they are not intended for re-use.

I have water bottles that I purchased, with a one-way valve, so they don't spill, that have a statement that chemicals will not leach into water or juices such as grape and apple. They recommend not using them for citrus juices.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Go to your local restaurant supply and get a 12 quart cambro, and a metal bain marie that will fit inside and leave ample room for ice and water. Maybe 6 quart.

Metal is key because of conduction.

Ice and water in the cambro, bain goes in, spin the bain, stir the liquid, cool in no time.

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sometimes, when I am planning to freeze sautes of protein & veg, I blanch and shock the veg, rather than cooking w/ the protein. Then, toss together before stowing.

wrt cooling... metal pans/bowls work the best for water/ice bath cooling. If you're concerned about plastic bottles... what about using your SIG water bottle as an ice wand? Also, remember to transfer the cooked food OUT of the hot pan, to a cool bowl. For any soups which require the addition of frozen peas... stir in at the end, rather than cooking.

Or, if you are using stock... have a concentrated stock prepared, using 1/2 the amount called for in the recipe. Then, chill the soup by adding ice cubes to make up the remaining liquid volume.

Karen Dar Woon

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You really don't want want to leave food sitting out between 40-140 degrees. Among other things, even the most harmless foods like mashed potatoes or spaghetti will go bad. Bacillus cereus spores are found in dirt and practically all cereals, like rice. When starches get wet and sit around room temps, it provides an environment for the bacteria to grow. Cooking temperatures may kill the bacteria, but cannot kill the spores. B. cereus causes all the typical food poisoning symptoms. Feeling ill after that MSG-laden cheap Chinese? It's not the fault of MSG -- which has been proven to have zero negative health effects -- but more likely the fault of old rice that's been sitting around in room temp: perfect for fried rice...

Fastest easiest way to bring something large down fast I find: transfer your food to a cool, unused metal pot or container and dunk in a sink that's filled with water and at least 50% ice and a bit of salt.

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I prefer using an ice paddle for such applications. Ice paddles. If you forget to set it up far enough in advance by loading with water and freezing, you can fill it with ice cubes and a bit of water and it will freeze much faster. No splashing, no puddles, no mess.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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