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Feb 25, 2008 08:33 AM

Lifespan of meatballs?

Well, half of my red carpet invitees were a no-show -- which leaves me with about a lb. of lamb meatballs that I made Sat. night. Reheated yesterday for the party. Back in the fridge at the end of the night..... now what? Are they safe to reheat once again, or do I have to toss them? I hate, hate, hate throwing out food.....

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  1. I'm sure they are safe to reheat again, as long as you refrigerated them promptly yesterday. They are less than 48 hours "old" so to speak, since you made them Saturday night. You could also freeze the leftovers for later.

    5 Replies
    1. re: DanaB

      Well, here's the scoop -- since this was a fingerfood party of sorts, the food sat out for most of the evening.... so not sure if that qualifies for 'danger zone' temperature. I mean, the room was prob around 65˚F.

      Also, would eating them cold out of the fridge be safer than reheating, or does it not matter?

      1. re: linguafood

        Reheating is always better than eating them cold, if you are worried about food safety issues. Heat will kill any bacteria.

        Personally, even if they were out at room temperature for a while yesterday, I'd eat them, so long as they tasted good. I would just make sure I reheated them thoroughly before doing so.

        1. re: DanaB

          Thanks DanaB, I think I'll take the risk. They are too delish to throw out (toasted pinenuts, fresh oregano & mint, feta and garlic....).

        2. re: linguafood

          Here is a description of the various "zones."

          165°F and higher: Most bacteria die within several seconds
          141°F to 164°F: Holding hot foods and sauces. Bacteria aren't killed, but they don't multiply, either.
          40°F to 140°F: Food Danger Zone Bacteria thrive and multiply. Limit exposure of perishable foods to one hour or less.
          33°F to 39°F: Refrigerated food storage. Bacteria aren't killed. They multiply, but relatively slowly. Food is safe here for a limited time.
          32°F and lower: Frozen food storage: Bacteria aren't killed, but they don't multiply, either.

          Jfood will assume that the meatballs were in the zone for a significant time (>1 hour). Therefore eating them stright from the fridge will be more dangerous that reheating to above 165 internal temperature for a length of time..

          So you probably have some bad stuff that might be re-invented if cooked properly.

          1. re: jfood

            Well, I'll give 'em a serious zap in the microwave and keep my fingers crossed --

            Living on the edge '-)

      2. as long as the meatballs did not sit in the "danger zone" temperature, they should be fine to freeze. Hopefully you have a foodsaver.

        1. Based on my PERSONAL experience I would say you are ok. In this household we are infamous for ordering pizza and leaving it out for several hours before popping it in the fridge. I would say we average anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how lazy we are feeling (I also eat small amounts frequently so I'll often go back for a 2nd or 3rd slice every couple of hours and just leave it out). I've been doing this for years now and so far no problem. I also leave leftovers in the car when I eat out and then go to a movie or something afterwards. So problems. I would also like to add that I have a weakened immune system so it's not like I have the gut o 'steel. ;)

          1 Reply
          1. re: mariannas

            Yea, I am with you there. My first Thanksgiving, I panicked because my turkey sat out too long, and I was afraid it had sat in the danger zone. My mother assured me that when she was a kid, her parents left the turkey out at lunch, put a piece of foil over it, and then reheated it at dinner, and no one died :) I used to be really crazy about food safety, and I'm still overly cautious, but not to the point where I'm obsessive compulsive. In my opinion, for home use, its probably not as big of a deal. However for commercial use, I'd say the rules are quite different since the food is on a much larger scale and goes to a lot more people who may all have different tolerances.

          2. Microwave--high heat from the inside--and they'll be perfect!

            1. How about using them in a soup?

              1 Reply
              1. re: sleepycat

                They will be fine, I have reheated meatballs under these circumstances many times, my in-laws are from Italy. No one has ever been stricken with illness. You can also freeze them, just squeeze out the air before sealing the bag to slow freezer burn. I am a culinary student and four hours at room temp. is still considerd in the safety zone...