Most of us have a majority of the reflex to let our dishes cool naturally before putting them in the refrigerator. As if instinctively, we imagined that a heat shock would occur if we put our hot dishes directly in the fridge … But it is quite different. It is rather strongly recommended to refrigerate the remains of meals still hot without delay!
Foods or dishes that are still hot or at room temperature and that cool for a long time have a much higher risk of “passing” than those that are placed directly in the refrigerator. Indeed, the amount of bacteria doubles then every 20 minutes, which can compromise their conservation and at the same time, their consumption.
As soon as a hot dish releases more steam, it should quickly be refrigerated even if the contents are still hot. Moreover a dish or food that has spent more than 2 hours at room temperature without passing through the refrigerator box should be discarded and especially not consumed if we take into account the fact that the most common cause of domestic food poisoning it is precisely the poor preservation of the remains of dishes or food.
Why directly put hot dishes in the fridge?
Refrigeration of food does not kill bacteria. However, it prevents their proliferation, hence the need to quickly place them in the refrigerator to avoid them to go through the so-called “critical” area between 4 °C and 60 °C. This corresponds to an interval favorable to microbial activity and promotes the rapid multiplication of bacteria. In order to avoid this, it is important to place the dishes still hot, quickly in a cool place, and if possible to 4 ° C, or even less, knowing that the ideal temperature of the refrigerator must be between 0 and 5 ° C.
It does not have to happen instantly if you want to quickly put food in the fridge. In any case, not with regard to foods or dishes that have just been removed from the fire. These can take too long to cool, which can also, as in the case of food having spent too much time (between 20 minutes and 2 hours) at room temperature without refrigeration, promote the proliferation of harmful bacteria. It is therefore best to let very hot foods cool to room temperature or speed up their cooling until they give off more steam.
How to cool food fast?
In order to be able to keep the food longer and prevent any possible development of bacteria, the best method to follow is to promote their cooling before placing them in the refrigerator.
Foods will cool faster if placed in shallow boxes.
When you put the food still warm in storage boxes, place it for a few minutes in cold water.
Do not immediately close the lid of the storage boxes containing the still hot remains.
Avoid cooling food cooked on a cork or a wooden stand as these two elements are insulators that promote the conservation of heat.
Stir the food still hot to speed up the cooling process.
How to store food?
The storage and the method of preservation of food require a lot of precautions in order to limit the proliferation of bacteria favoring food poisoning and to increase as much as possible, their lifespan. Here are some tips to apply to keep your food healthy:
Food purchased first must obviously be consumed first.
Never refreeze food or defrosted food.
Never leave at room temperature, food more than two hours out of the refrigerator.
The remains are to be consumed as quickly as possible or to prefer their freezing.
Never heat a dish or food more than once.
Check the temperature of the refrigerator from time to time, which should always be between 0 and 4°C.
Place the most perishable products in the center of the refrigerator which is the coolest place.