Get Foods Out of The Food Danger Zone Quickly
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As chefs, we want to limit the amount of time our healthy food spends in The Food Danger Zone. At home, with regular quantities of cooked, ready-to-eat food, you can usually cool them to room temperature quickly and unaided just by taking them off the heat and letting them stand. Optimally, cooling your food to room temperature, at room temperature should take no longer than the FDA’s recommended 2 hour window. When in doubt used common sense and don’t push it.

Sometimes we have to help larger quantities of heated foods (like quantities of Broths, Sauces or Soups) get cooler faster. We cover “Venting” in Lesson 8: Stock, Sauces & Soups Basics, but for now, just be aware of the following tips. If you need to actually use venting or an ice bath, read ahead.

Varieties
  • An Ice Bath can help soups/stews/sauces etc. cool down faster and more safely.
  • An Ice Paddle in can help soups/stews/sauces etc. cool down faster and more safely. Ice Paddles are seen more often in commercial kitchens, though there are some for home use. We’d resist the investment unless making a lot of soups/stews/sauces etc.
  • A Blast Chiller, a fast cooling appliance used in commercial kitchens can help (soups/stews/sauces etc.) cool down faster and more safely.
  • Reducing the size of a food portion or dividing large containers of food into smaller shallower pans, can help food cool more quickly.
  • When storing leftovers: the FDA advises refrigerating leftovers within 2 hours in clean shallow covered containers to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying.
  • Most refrigerated foods keep best at a lower refrigerated temperature.