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Jul 3, 2007 09:04 AM

Congee Soup and Red Bean Soup spoiled overnight

I made this congee from:


I made the red bean soup dessert from:

during the evening. I let it cool off overnight in my stainless steel pots. They tasted great the next day and then I put them back in the refridgerator later in the morning. When evening came it tasted great.

After I stored them in the refridgerator, I tasted it again the next day and they turned REALLY sour or spoiled tasting. All my food work, money, and love went right into the garbage.

Here are some things I am doing:

1) I am using a stainless steel pot
2) When I cooked them I would cook it at night and leave it on the stove (not in the fridge) to cool off overnight. The next morning it would be wonderful. Then I would store it in the fridge and the next day it would be really bad. Very sour-y taste. I know it just got spoiled.
3) Does the ginger react badly with stainless steel if left in the pot of congee or red bean soup?

My old congee recipe worked great in a crockpot and never went bad. But I never used ginger in my previous recipe.

What are some things I should be doing?

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  1. When my Mom made large batches of these and there were leftovers, she would reboil each day (adding more liquid if necessary), cool, and store in the refridgerator.

    It's not the stainless steel pot. My Mom used these as well.

    1. Ginger doesn't cause the spoilage. What probably happened is you did not reboil each day. As another poster noted, you need to reboil the congee (in fact, reboil any liquid) each day in order to prevent it from spoiling.

      2 Replies
      1. re: peachblossom

        thanks peachblossom and pinkamoeba.

        So, leaving it in the fridge is not enough then. I would've thought this to be sufficient as my western dishes never spoil as quickly.

        I'll have to make sure to reboil each day. This is something that I haven't learned in cooking classes!

        1. re: librarygirl

          You don't need to reboil each day. Just don't leave it sitting out all night, which leads to microbial growth.

          To cool it off quickly, put the pot in the sink and fill it with cold water. It shouldn't take too much time to start cooling down. You may need to drain and refill the sink once.

      2. If you don't want to reboil each day, transfer it to small containers and cool quickly in an icebath, so you get them in the fridge before you go to bed. Leaving a huge pot out overnight lets it sit in the perfect zone for growing bacteria for a long time.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JGrey

          Thanks everyone! I received an abundant amount of great responses. I kind of figured that I should put it in the fridge asap but I heard that you should never put any warm food in the fridge. I'll take your responses to heart especially from zfalcon and JGrey. I'll also reboil every 2 days or so.


          1. re: librarygirl

            To elaborate on what zfalcon and jgrey have said:

            Most microbial growth happens between the temperatures of 40-145F/5-65C, so food shouldn't be kept for more than four hours in this 'danger zone' (as it is called). It either should be kept above (by simmering/boiling) or below (refrigeration or freezing) when it is not being consumed. So storing food which attracts pathogens at room temperature (epecially in summer) isn't a good idea.

            You're right - it's not a good idea to put warm food in the fridge. Sometimes the food will not cool properly, or if it's a big container of hot food, it can actually change the ambient temperature inside your fridge, which is bad for all the food in your fridge (temperature fluctuations often shorten the keeping life of food).

            In professional kitchens, chefs 'rapid cool' any hot items that need to be refrigerated. You could fill your sink with ice water and place your pot in it (lid off), or transfer your soup to a shallow, wide container (greater surface area leads to more rapid cooling) or even pour it a couple times back and forth between two pots (the soup is in contact with a lot more air, which cools it, as does transferring it to a cold pot).

            So if you rapid cool your soup and refrigerate it, you should only need to reboil it when you eat it. And it makes sense to only reboil as much as you are going to eat - reheating food then refrigerating and reheating again at a later date is not a good idea (think of all the times it re-enters the danger zone unneccessarily!).

            Another note: a friend made a big batch of chicken soup, rapid cooled it, refrigerated it, and then boiled it up and served it up to a large dinner party the next day. It was off. The culprit? A dirty strainer, which she'd used to strain the soup. So always clean your strainers properly before straining soups!

          2. re: JGrey

            Another approach: Pour water into a couple of food-safe plastic containers, about 3/4 full. Freeze. Put one or more of these into the pot of food. Once the food is cool and the ice melted, wash the outside of the containers and return to the freezer. I do them in pint and quart sizes.

          3. If you have a gas stove the pilot light actually gets pretty hot. Putting a huge pot of soup/congee overnight on the warm stove is not like leaving it overnight in a crockpot. Definitely remove it from the stove to cool off.

            Another possibility is to not sweeten the red bean soup until it's off the stove. Or make ice sugar cubes that you can sweeten and cool down the soup after you take if off of the stove. Then you can put it in the refridgerator sooner. (The beans will cook sooner even without soaking if you don't add sugar)

            1 Reply
            1. re: HLing

              Thanks HLing. Unfortunately, I don't have a gas stove. My electric stove is all I have. The ice sugar cubes sounds like a good idea!

            2. Is it possible to reboil spoiled red bean soup and eat it? I know the taste won't be the same, but I'm wondering because I just di dthe same thing and spoiled a batch of red bean soup. Will I die?