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Jaymes

"Too hot to put into the fridge"?

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So it happened again. This morning I got up to discover a big pot of charro beans still sitting on the stove from last night's dinner. I had gone to bed early, and my daughter and her husband said they'd clean up the kitchen. When I expressed surprise (and regret) that the beans had been left out all night long, my daughter said, "Oh no. They were too hot to put into the fridge, so I decided to let them cool off and I forgot about them."

This theory about "too hot to put into the fridge" is not something she learned at my house. When dinner is finished, and there's something in a large pot or Dutch oven, and there's too much of it to put into plastic containers, I always just went right ahead and put it into the fridge, hot or not. I did take care to move away anything that might suffer from close proximity, such as butter or eggs or milk or something in a flimsy plastic bag like cheese from the deli, but other than that, didn't even give it a second thought.

The "too hot to put into the fridge" thing came from my daughter's husband's family, and it has resulted time and time again in things sitting out all night long. Chili. Soups. Stews. Casseroles. Stock. You name it, if it's something that was cooked in a big pot, the chances are it was left out overnight because it was "too hot to put into the fridge" and then forgotten about.

I'm truly puzzled. My parents never had any hesitation to put hot stuff into the fridge in the home I grew up in, and never did I in the home my daughter grew up in. This "too hot" thing is new to me, and I'm not a fan, to say the least.

I say put the damn thing in.

What say y'all?


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Agreed. I'll let something cool as long as it takes to eat dinner and wash the dishes so it's not going into the fridge still boiling, but that is as far as I worry about that.

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My husband belongs to the 'too hot for the fridge' school of thought. While in theory I disagree, there was that time that I put a pot of soup in the fridge and it shattered the glass shelf, so I suppose there is a small amount of merit to it. I am far more careful about things with meat in them, and I'm far more careful in the hot weather. I live for the days when my balcony is a big fridge and I can just fire stuff out the patio door :smile:


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I'm of the "too hot to put in the fridge" school, since hot food raises the temperature of the whole fridge, but I regularly ignore the theory and put too-hot stuff in there anyway. Usually not large quantities, though; if I have a big pot of stock or spaghetti sauce, I'll cool it in an ice bath before putting it in the fridge.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I suppose I'm a "too hot" member as well. Really, I always thought that if you put a large hot object in the fridge or freezer it raises the temp inside and then the result is that the fridge has to use more energy to get back down to temp...

In cool weather I've not seen a problem with letting stocks sit out overnight, but in warm weather it doesn't seem like a good idea.

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i guess from working in restaurant kitchens i picked up the habit that anything going into a small fridge/reachin/lowboy was quickly chilled by putting the pot into an ice bath. the food in the original pot could then be safely put into your work stations chill chest without raising the temperature to an unsafe level. if going into a walkin it wasn't a problem but i had to keep my reachin at a certain temperature in case of a surprise health inspection.


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I was raised with the "do NOT put hot items in the fridge" rule. My dad was the fanatic- he said germs would grow in the hot medium - that somehow the edges would cool and the area in the center would become an incubator. Where he got this I have no idea. He was constantly muttering about the Federal inspectors at the meat packing plant so maybe he cobbled a theory from something he heard. If it was a heavy pot like a Le Creuset, which retains heat so well, we would transfer the food to a bowl. Stirring with a cold spoon was also part of the ritual. If we were leaving it would go into the fridge but not covered. Somehow there was a parallel concept that leaving it sitting out, without some of these other steps, was not wise either.

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We have a couple of things we do.

- the garage opens easily into the kitchen via the breezeway and pots can be put out there when it's cold. And up here in the frozen north, we have a lot of that.

- stuff gets left out to cool and I put a sticky note by my bedside to remind me to put it into the fridge. (She who lives by the list...)

Can't say which side of the proposition I actually live on. :hmmm:


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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Well it depends on a lot of factors:-

First the hot thing

  • How hot is it
  • How large is it
  • What's it's heat capacity
  • Where in the fridge is it

Next the fridge

  • What is the temperature of the fridge
  • What's it's internal volume
  • What's it's cooling ability
  • What food is in the frige and where is it placed.

So in a 2 litre fridge and placing a litre container of boiling water on the base and a 1/8 litre bowl of rice above it. Unless your fridge cooled like liquid nitrogen that bown of rice will turn into a breading ground for germs.

Similary if you've a 100 litre fridge and place a warm (30C) cake on the top shelf, chances are nothing is going to be affected.

So just use some common sense, transfer hot food into s suitably sized container, why cool the whole pot.

Keep hot foods away from temperature sensitive foods and place hot foods above cold foods is possible.

Also placing hot food into a fridge makes it work harder and use more energy, so not a good thing to do from an energy saving point of view.


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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I am also in the "too hot to put in the fridge" school. I cool things down in an ice bath until they are about room temp before putting them in the fridge. Seems the safest to me but I do know the downside - that sometimes things get forgotten and have to be ditched so I sympathize.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I was raised with the "do NOT put hot items in the fridge" rule. My dad was the fanatic- he said germs would grow in the hot medium - that somehow the edges would cool and the area in the center would become an incubator. Where he got this I have no idea.

That's it in a nutshell. Putting something warm in the refrigerator increases the overall temperature of the refrigerator. The longer food stays above 45°F, the more likely it is that "bad" bacteria will grow and thrive.

Hopefully, as SSB will weigh in on this...


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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A couple of thoughts...

Refrigeration does not make things cold, it removes the heat. A houshold fridge is not designed to remove the heat from a 4 qt pot of soup--it is designed to keep the temperature at around 4-5 Celcius.

Heat almnost always contains humidity, especially heat coming off of food.

A refrigerator is an airtight box with a coil that gets cold, and a fan to blow this around.

When you put hot items in a fridge, the heat and humidty rise up--to the coil, where the humidity sticks on the coil, causing it to ice up.

The humidty also sticks to the walls of the fridge--condensation, if you will, and if not removed it can, and does turn into mold.

Cheap tricks? Fill up a milk jug with water and freeze it. Drop this into a pot of hot soup to cool it down. In winter, fill up your sink with snow and set a pot into the snow. (never keep a pot of food outside in a snowbank, animials will eat it. D.a.m.h.i.k.t....)

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Stupidly, I set a hot meatloaf next to a package of ground beef in the fridge a few years ago. In the time it took the meatloaf to cool the ground beef had most clearly spoiled.

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A couple of thoughts...

Refrigeration does not make things cold, it removes the heat. A houshold fridge is not designed to remove the heat from a 4 qt pot of soup--it is designed to keep the temperature at around 4-5 Celcius.

Heat almnost always contains humidity, especially heat coming off of food.

A refrigerator is an airtight box with a coil that gets cold, and a fan to blow this around.

When you put hot items in a fridge, the heat and humidty rise up--to the coil, where the humidity sticks on the coil, causing it to ice up.

The humidty also sticks to the walls of the fridge--condensation, if you will, and if not removed it can, and does turn into mold.

Cheap tricks? Fill up a milk jug with water and freeze it. Drop this into a pot of hot soup to cool it down. In winter, fill up your sink with snow and set a pot into the snow. (never keep a pot of food outside in a snowbank, animials will eat it. D.a.m.h.i.k.t....)

Excellent points.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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ATK recommends cooling things to about 90F degrees before putting them in the fridge, because when they're really warm or hot, they can raise the temperature of the entire refrigerator space to a level that is congenial to bacterial growth.

I easily flake on putting things away while they cool, so I just set the timer for 20 minutes, as a reminder to put the pot in the fridge.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I'm firmly in the camp of "too hot to put into the fridge"....you can spoil everything in the fridge if your item is warm enough. Even if nothing's in the fridge to spoil, the item itself can chill on the outside while the interior remains surprisingly hot--pretty much the perfect recipe for spoilage. But leaving something out on the counter, especially a large volume container, doesn't exactly spell food safety either! Wide, shallow containers cool faster (more surface area), and a baggie of ice cubes will help matters along. Ice paddles are the professional's solution for large-volume containers...

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If there is a large volume of food that is moderately hot, I either use a cold "paddle" as mentioned above, or transfer the stuff to a wider, shallower container that will allow more rapid cooling and with plastic containers, such as Cambro or the newer snap-lock containers, set them on a blue ice pack and put another one on top so the stuff cools more rapidly.

I always have 6 or more of the large blue ice packs in my freezer ready for emergency use, and have also used them (inserted in a fresh Zip Lock bag, IN a pot, as long as the contents are not boiling. Since I got the paddle, I haven't had occasion to do this.

In a pinch you can use a cooler and ice water as there is a more rapid transfer of heat with the fuller contact of the water and to speed things up more, sprinkle some salt on the ice.

I do not put hot foods directly into the fridge because it does raise the temp inside the fridge.

The critical temp is between 40° and 140° F., and in that zone some foods will ferment as well as incubate bacteria in as little as three hours and it can take longer than that for the cooling to penetrate to the center of a dense mass of say, beans or chili or stew.

It can take up to 4 hours or longer, depending on the size of the fridge, for the interior temp to drop back to the safe level.

Anyone who has had a power loss for several hours, should realize this. With larger fridges, the recovery time will be longer.


"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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If you read the instructions of your refrigerator, you may find it is stated that when you re-adjust the temperature of the freezer and the refrigerator compartment, it may take a few days for the temperature to balance out and stablize.

Putting a large hot pot in the refrigerator will totally upset the thermostat.

dcarch

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I seldom cook large enough batches of anything to have to worry about things being "too hot" to put in the fridge. In the winter when I do make large pots of soups or chili, I dip out what we are going to eat for the meal and then after we finish up the dishes, I measure out the rest into containers for the freezer. By the time I get done doing this and making labels out of masking tape with contents and date, the items are generally cool enough to put in the freezer or one or more in the refrigerator. I have an obscene amount of refrigerator and freezer space, though, and also use my porch as an ice box in the winter.

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I generally serve out what we're going to eat for the meal and then put the leftovers of soups, stews, etc, into a shallow container to cool while we eat. Then the first thing I do when I go back into the kitchen is put the leftovers into smaller containers in the fridge. The time that it takes us to eat dinner is usually enough to cool the stuff down to less than 90 degrees.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Last week at our house: Jug of Hot Brewed Tea with ice cubes in it (to make iced tea) was put next to a half gallon of milk. Half gallon of milk was ruined. Lesson was learned - didn't think it was really possible, but it is!

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I'm also in the let it cool before putting away group for the reasons mentioned above. I have a granite trivet that I put pots on to act as a heat sink. Its quite impressive how quickly it will suck the heat out of a pot of soup.

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Thanks for all of the good info here.

I've definitely decided to switch camps and join the "too hot" crowd.

:smile:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Don't rely on daugther & s-i-l to deal with the leftovers!


Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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