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Chili left out all night. Would you eat it?

Hubby and I just made a new pot of turkey chili last night around 8 p.m. It was left on the stove to cool and we forgot about it when we went to bed. I got up this morning at 7 a.m. and - after cursing our lack of attention - stashed it in the fridge.

Food safety wisdom probably advises to dump it. But the real question is, would you eat it anyway?

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  1. Sure! Chili is cooked for a long time, so it shouldn't really be a problem. You may want to add a little liquid and bring it to a boil before serving, but I would totally eat it! I bet it's delicious!

    1. I had a roommate in college who would always leave soups, casseroles, etc, out all night and then put them in the fridge the next morning. I don't recall her ever getting sick from eating the leftovers.

      1. absolutely. I routinely leave out chili, spag sauce, etc overnight with no ill effects. But be sure to fridge it in the AM.

        1. I wouldn't eat it for 2 reasons:

          #1 it was left out all night, sitting in the bacteria growing danger zone for an extended time.

          #2 it was turkey chili. ;-D

          1. Nope. I would dump it. A food needs 6 things for microorganisms to thrive: food (duh), acidity, time, temperature, oxygen and moisture.

            Sounds like you've got all of those covered... not good. Especially if there's beans in the chili. Starches are often a greater hazard than the protein (hint: it's not the mayo in the picnic potato salad that makes you sick, it's the potatoes!)

            21 Replies
            1. re: jlbwendt

              >>>>it's not the mayo in the picnic potato salad that makes you sick, it's the potatoes!<<<<

              Would you kindly provide credible documentation/links to back up that statement.

              1. re: johnb

                Sure!

                According to the FDA model food code, potatoes and cooked rice, beans or other heat treated plant foods are all considered potentially hazardous and are required to be kept out of the "danger zone". (ServSafe coursebook, National Restaurant Association, 1999, page 1-6, ISBN is 0471204420 if you're interested)

                Here's another source: http://tiny.cc/0rZx8
                And another from Chow itself: http://www.chow.com/stories/11088
                One more! http://tiny.cc/Ajv9B

                While I don't doubt mayonnaise has the potential to make you sick under certain conditions (especially home-made which isn't pasteurized) most people overlook the hazard of the potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.

                1. re: jlbwendt

                  Of course the potatoes can host bacteria. You're missing the point. The question is, why does potato salad have a particular reputation for making folks sick (which is why you mentioned it)? Answer, it is the mayo which contains the substance that brings in the problem, not the potatoes. And yes it is only with home made mayo, not commercial mayo, since the latter must be made with pasteurized eggs (btw it is the eggs that are pasteurized, not the finished mayo). Home made mayo, made with uncooked eggs, brings in the bacteria which then grow in the potatoes. But it is the mayo (home made) that is at the root of making you sick, not the potatoes. That is why potato salad has the reputation it has, not because there is anything especially dangerous about potatoes and other starches as you implied.

                  1. re: johnb

                    Sorry, that's incorrect. Mayonnaise typically has a pH of 4.2 to 4.6, which is very disruptive to bacterial growth. In the 1980s, the Food Research Institute of the University of Wisconsin conducted studies showing that, in the presence of mayo, harmful bacteria slow in growth, or die. So mayo actually reduces the chance that the potatoes will give you food poisoning.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      Yes, that is true about commercial mayo (made with pasteurized eggs, and by law including the level of acidifiers you mentioned), but not homemade mayo (made with unpasteurized eggs and who knows what level of acidifiers), and it is the homemade version that, in the past, led to the "potato salad" problem, and gave potato salad its dangerous reputation, which you rightly point out is undeserved in the modern context (when made with commercial mayo). Yet many "food safety experts" continue to paint potato salad as particularly dangerous.

                      1. re: johnb

                        Mayonnaise is acidic by definition. And that acid (usually lemon juice or vinegar) tends to kill any pathogens that unpasteurized eggs might bring to the party. Garlic and mustard help, too. Radford and Board (full cite below) demonstrated that homemade mayonnaise made according to traditional recipes is generally quite safe.

                        That's not to say that you couldn't whip up something that resembles mayo and is an effective bacterial growth medium. But you'd have to deviate significantly from any recipe I've ever seen. And with little or no acid, I can't imagine that the stuff would taste very good.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          OK fine, then explain how potato salad got such a bad rap. Do bacteria self-generate within the potatoes, like the immaculate conception? Or was it all a big hoax? Or was the problem really the hot dogs?

                          I'm an old guy, and have even done my time in academia, and I've learned that one academic study doth not a final conclusion make.

                          1. re: johnb

                            I agree that a single study isn't conclusive. Four more are cited below. If you want more I can get 'em.

                            As far as how potato salad gets a bad rap, it's because it deserves it. Tepid ingredients are subject to extensive handling (cubing the cooled cooked potatoes, chopping the celery, slicing the hard-boiled egg), then mixed together. That's a recipe for food poisoning right there. The bacteria don't self-generate, they come from the cutting board where maybe a chicken was cut up earlier, or from the hands of the cook, or from the spoon that was double-dipped to check if the salad had enough salt.

                            And just because mayonnaise is a poor growth medium doesn't mean it creates a magical bacteria-free zone around everything it touches. Potatoes aren't terribly hospitable to bacteria either, but a nice chunk of warm hard-boiled egg - now that's someplace a staphylococcus can call home and start a family.

                            1. re: johnb

                              The danger in potato salad come from the potatoes, not the mayo.

                              This is from Cook's Illustrated:

                              "The main ingredients in mayonnaise are raw eggs, vegetable oil, and an acid (usually vinegar or lemon juice). The eggs used in commercially made mayonnaise have been pasteurized to kill salmonella and other bacteria. Its high acidity is another safeguard; because bacteria do not fare well in acidic environments, the lemon juice or vinegar inhibits bacterial growth. Mayonnaise, even when homemade, is rarely the problem unless it contains very little acid. It's the potatoes that are more likely to go bad.

                              The bacteria usually responsible for spoiled potato salad are Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as staph). Both are found in soil and dust, and they thrive on starchy, low-acid foods like rice, pasta, and potatoes. If they find their way into your potato salad via an unwashed cutting board or contaminated hands, they can wreak havoc on your digestive system."

                              1. re: johnb

                                When you make a home made mayo it is really easy not to use enough acid to make it safe. Factor in that many people use unpasturized eggs which if eaten raw can make you sick anyway. Add to that people's perception of the perishibility of food. I mean it really does seem logical that something made with eggs will go bad quickly. And then take into account that potato salad is served in summertime where it sits in 90 degree heat smack in the middle of the temperature danger zone where bacterial groth is at its peak. That is where the bad rep came from.

                                I would like to add that sometimes using common sense and experience often yields better results than reading studies.

                            2. re: johnb

                              I know my microbiology professor loved to bring up the family reunion potato salad story as a prime example of how to get food poisoning.

                            1. re: jlbwendt

                              Doyle, M.P., et al. (1982), Fate of Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus in meat salads prepared with mayonnaise. J. Food Prot. 45 (2): 152-6

                              Erickson, J. P., et al. (1991) Comparative Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes inactivation rates in four commercial mayonnaise products. J. Food Protect. 54 (12):913-916

                              Glass, K. A. et al. (1991) Fate of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in commercial, reduced calorie mayonnaise. J. Food Protect. 54 (9): 691-695

                              Radford, S. A. and Board, R. G. 1993. Review: Fate of pathogens in home-made mayonnaise and related products. Food Microbiology 10: 269-278

                              Smittle, R. B. (1977) Microbiology of mayonnaise and salad dressing: A review. J. Food Protect. 40 (6): 415-422.

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                Is there Mayo is the chili that the OP made?

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  "Smittle, R. B. (1977) Microbiology of mayonnaise and salad dressing: A review. J. Food Protect. 40 (6): 415-422"

                                  J. Food Protect??? I'm impressed

                          2. re: johnb

                            It's true - mayo doesn't make anyone sick....commercial mayo doesn't spoil easily. The prohibition against mayo at room temp is a holdover from the days when people made homemade mayo w/raw eggs.

                            1. re: JaneRI

                              It's actually recommended to hold homemade mayo at room temp for 24 hours after preparation because Salmonella spp. bacteria die off at a slower rate under refrigeration. The simple fact is that, so long as you make your mayonnaise according to any traditional recipe, the acid will kill off the pathogens. The folk wisdom about may being a significant source of potential food poisoning is just wrong.

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                I'm on your side Alan.
                                Alton Brown touched on the subject as well. As for the people with the "Conventional wisdom says..." argument, there are plenty of "Old wives tales" that science has proven to be hooey!!

                                DT

                              2. re: JaneRI

                                When i was doing some volunteer work serving food to the Hurricane Gustav evacuees, we served hamburgers one night. Mayo was a very popular condiment, and we ran out quickly, but one evacuee had brought along some miracle whip of her own that she would stash in her jacket or under the table while she was eating. She wasn't able to refrigerate it the whole time she was at the shelter, and i was wondering if it would make her sick. I don't use mayo or miracle whip myself, but i had just always assumed you had to keep it cold. Guess not.

                                1. re: iluvtennis

                                  It should be noted that miracle whip is not mayonaise. Also there are some commercial mayonaises (made for restaurants) that never need to be refrigerated because of the magical chemicals they are made with.

                          3. I'd eat it. Been there, done that. No harmful effects.

                            1. Not one w/meat, god no. If just beans I woulda said sure.

                              1. Eat it or send it to me and I'll eat it!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  I was going to bet that you'd say, "put in a pot, boil it, eat it." I lose.
                                  But I would definitely not eat it. No way!

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I assume the OP's house to be relatively clean given the concern about spoilage. Where are the bacteria and contaminants supposed to have come from?

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      er - I dunno. The air? Just wondering. And running for cover. As best I can.....

                                2. The public health person in me says no, but to be honest I probably would eat. So I guess what I'm saying is that while I would eat it, I can't recommend that you should eat it ;)

                                  1. Done it also and we ate it.No problems for us.However it was reheated to boil,simmer
                                    long enough to kill bacteria.

                                    1. My reply is the same as Sam's. Send it to me and I'll eat it.

                                      This topic comes up regularly here. The bottom line is this. When you make something like chili (or a stew etc.), which is cooked for a long time, when it's done there is nothing harmful alive (e.g. bacteria) left in it. For it to become unsafe to eat, new harmful bacteria need to get in there from the air or other contamination (after it is sufficiently cool), establish themselves, start reproducing, and reproduce in sufficient numbers (over many generations) to generate enough microbes to damage you. This takes time, and is simply not possible under the conditions you describe. If it happened that way, the human race would have died out millions of years ago and microbes or something at that level would rule the earth.

                                      I often cook things like chili, have left them out overnight (and sometimes a lot longer) routinely dozens of times over the years, and eaten the results (including sampling without reheating) and have never had a problem. Period.

                                      All this developed country, modern hygiene stuff is fine, but throwing out food under these circumstances is, IMO, just plain nonsensical.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: johnb

                                        Would you feel the same way if it was a restaurant serving you chili or stew that had been sitting out all night?

                                        1. re: jlbwendt

                                          Yes, provided it is protected from contamination of course. In fact, its flavor develops better that way. Which is precisely the point, and should be important to anyone who cares about eating well.

                                          But of course it's an academic discussion because the lawyer-driven food safety laws/regulations won't allow it. Same laws that typically prevent cheese from being served at room temperature as it should be, and in brick-hard butter arriving at the diner's table. This is a function of CYA bureaucracy, not sensible food prep/serving protocols. Food safety regulation is fine in principle, and neither I or anyone should be against it in general, but when those in charge of the regs have every interest in not allowing the slightest chance of a future problem for themselves or their job security, and have no incentive to promote good tasting food, then things go overboard which is what has happened. There needs to be a balance, and the balance has swung way too far, and unnecessarily, toward extreme "safety," both in the commercial and home realms.

                                          1. re: johnb

                                            Exactly. The problem with restaurants is that there's a lot of food floating around and usually more than one person handling the food, so there's a lot of potential for cross-contamination -- more so than in your home kitchen. But if it's been reheated to full simmer, I'd trust the chile to the extent I'd trust the people working in the kitchen, and if I can't trust them enough on the chile they serve, I'm probably not going to trust them enough to eat anything there.

                                      2. I'm definitely in the 'eat it' group. Bring it back to the boil before though. I have done exactly the same thing with chili and with spaghetti sauce. I now always to a walkthrough of the kitchen before bed. :)

                                        1. I'd definitely eat it AND I'd feed it to my family too. Give me a break with all these scare tactics. Save me all the warnings too - I'm well aware of the "risks".

                                          Iron stomachs unite!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. I certainly wouldn't dump it, especially if it was just out a few hours overnight. A little common sense comes into play

                                            If your chili is of the type with tomato, then you have some acidity there to protect you (in the same manner that the vinegar in mayonnaise acts as a kind of preservative).
                                            I personally would just heat it to a boil and not worry about it. I usually try to get stuff into the fridge as soon as it has cooled, but when I've forgotten to do so I've never suffered any ill effects from doing this, especially with more acidy foods.

                                            1. I just did a bit of research.

                                              http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-prp1...

                                              That article says that reheating will kill any bacteria, but that there could possibly be toxins left. Anther article talked about needing about 140 degrees or greater to kill bacteria.

                                              If it were me, and the chili had been covered, I would heat thoroughly and eat it. But I wouldn't try it someone who is not really healthy to start with, sick, elderly, etc.

                                              1. So long as your house wasn't 85 degrees and humid...and you plan to reheat it up past 165*, I'd go for it. you'll be fine. if it was on the stove and really hot, then it probably didn't fully cool down until early in the AM anyhow. Go for it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                                                  You just said what I was thinking cannedmilk. It was hot when I turned if off and my house has no heat on so it was a little chilly last night and it was covered with a lid. I'll reheat & eat for sure.

                                                2. I'd eat it with no qualms.

                                                  I would not serve it to dinner guests, however.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. I have done so and I would again anytime. For the record, I've even eaten it cold for breakfast, though I prefer to bring it to a simmer and then poach a couple of eggs in it. Yum.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                      I've been doing that lately myself. With a little grated cheese and some jalapeno slices on top. Instant heartburn breakfast!

                                                    2. I would reheat it in the AM (might need a splash of liquid) and serve a portion to a couple close friends, maybe over huevos fritos on tortillas. If they (the friends, not the eggs) don't turn green within an hour, I would say "coast is clear" and have at it myself.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        Probably the best advice so far!! Why risk your own health.

                                                        DT

                                                        LOL

                                                      2. I would test it on my dog first. She loves hot food, anyway.
                                                        Actually, I would not hesitate to warm it up thoroughly and eat it. I've done just what you have described a number of times. Neither me or Lucy have suffered any ill effects...

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          I would eat the chili no question, especially if it had been covered while it sat out. In addition, while I admire the bravery and sacrifice Lucy is willing to make on your behalf, just because Lucy doesn't get sick doesn't mean you wouldn't. Dogs, as wonderful as they are, are by nature, scavengers. Their bodies are far more resistant to germs than humans are, and they can regularly consume spoiled food with no ill effects. The result of millennia of living on the tossed away food of humans.

                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            I KNOW! I was just being facetious. I don't want people to think that this is a valid test and that animals can, in fact, act as "royal tasters"!.

                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              This raises an interesting question. Could it be that we humans are actually increasing our risk of giving ourselves food poisoning because we are trying too hard to avoid germs, which is impossible, but we are doing it at least well enough to compromise our ability to fight them when they do get in our systems. Somewhat like the problem of overuse of antibiotics in general, which has led to the increase of infections in some cases.

                                                              Just a thought. Maybe the best strategy is to do like Sam and build up resistance by dining out of jfood's dumpster every now and again.

                                                              1. re: johnb

                                                                With jfood's attention to food safety and cleanliness, I would expect the dumpster to be germ free as well. I'd only have to fear too much of a clorox smell.

                                                          2. Well, we ate it last night and... we had to be rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night! Just kidding. So far so good.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: SeattleK

                                                              Ha! You know, we've been waiting with bated breath to hear back from you! We thought for sure y'all were ill. JK

                                                              Glad you ate it and glad you lived to tell about it. :)

                                                              1. re: SeattleK

                                                                congrats! i would have eaten it too, after heating it well.

                                                                i would not feed it to anyone with a depressed immune system.

                                                                enjoy your chili! we're all sad we don't get any now.

                                                              2. As jfood has stated previously, anything left on the counter overnight that belonged in the fridge makes a bee-line to the disposal.

                                                                So the quick answer to your question is No, jfood would not eat it nor serve it to others.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  jfood, you and I should quit answering these types of questions. We'll always cancel each other's vote; and eveyone knows what we're each going to say.

                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    If jfood left some tasty morsel on the counter overnight wouldn't that mean it was your's for the taking?

                                                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                                                      I've previously threatened to move in next door to him and stake out his dumpster.

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        Sam, You and jfood could teach each other tremendously on the different ethnic cuisines to move forward with.

                                                                        And jfood would place everything on a plate and leave it outside like halloween candy, jfood would never want someone he respects as much entering the dumpster diving contest.

                                                                  2. These are very interesting responses. Just this past Wednesday, I had a lunch tasting for a client, and there was lots left-over, so I took braised short ribs, risotto and ratatouille home to have for dinner yesterday...but forgot to take it out of my car. The very aromatic smell in the car yesterday morning elicited an "uh-oh" reaction, and my next move was to quickly pitch the box w/leftovers into the garbage. No second-thoughts, no remorse. I had dinner out instead. I'd rather pay a restaurant bill than a hospital bill anyday.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: rednails

                                                                      Leftovers from lunch (already cooled and handled) sitting in the car until the next morning is certainly not comparable to cooked food in its pot (and not touched by humans) sitting on the counter for a few hours. I'd have thrown out your putrifying lefovers in no time as well.

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        I wasn't trying to make a comparison, just relating my experience. But the OP did say that the chili was left out "to cool." Whether in the pot or not, I probably would have pitched the chili as well.

                                                                        1. re: rednails

                                                                          It's not the same at all. The point of it being in the pot is that it's in a sterile container (that is, the pot has been heated and sterilized as part of the cooking process). Once you take it out of the pot and handle it, the chances of contamination increase significantly. And when it's leftovers off your plate, they've also been contaminated by the eating implements.Temperature in and of itself is irrelevant -- it's the interaction of temperature and bacteria that causes the problems. That's why, for example, you can keep canned foods on your shelf: they're sterile, thus the temperature has no effect.

                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                            I understand your point clarifying the chili being in the pot, and the pot being sterile from the cooking process. Point of clarification for my left-overs is that they were not from my plate but left-over from a client tasting--meaning, all the food brought home came straight out of chaffing dishes. My eating utensils had not touched the food, but the serving utensils, had, so those may have been contaminated, tho not really likely (the ends touching the food had not been touched by anyones' hands). I have eaten left-over veggies left in the oven but not meat.

                                                                    2. *if* you decide to eat this dish, knowing that it was in the danger zone for some time, as it was, you need to not only bring it to a boil, but ***hold it at a boil, for 20 mins,*** before cooling slightly and serving. if you just boil for 30 seconds or so you might not kill all the potential nasties. being chili, i think it should survive this treatment-- a cream soup, no.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                        A 20-minute boil is serious overkill. But hey, anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right? :-)

                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          hey, it's what the state taught me when i got my food mgr's crt. figured it was part of my duty to pass it on, lacking a resident chowhound health inspector-- funny how much those dudes don't seem to like food, at all!

                                                                          (please if there are any lurking health inspectors who love food, reply and prove me wrong!!! i would love that)

                                                                      2. Good Lord woman, throw it out! Not worth the possible food poisoning...a most unpleasant and painful illness...When in doublt...throw it out!

                                                                        1. When I was an exchange student in Japan, my host mother would leave the dinner food in the pot overnight and then put the stove on in the morning to heat it back up again for breakfast. We never got sick!

                                                                          1. Don't get botulism! Ok, I wouldn't feed it to a baby or a pregnant woman. I wouldn't serve it in a restaurant.
                                                                            Hypothetically if you reheat it to 165 degrees any bacteria that grew should die off. Personally after all that work I would absolutly eat it. Just get it good and hot first. Next time how bout letting it cool in the refirgerator?
                                                                            If you end up with a stomach ache in a couple days please don't blame me.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: keith2000

                                                                              Botulism is that last thing you'd get. Botulism only grows in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment. That's why you can get botulism from improperly canned foods, since they're sealed air-tight. But you can't get if from a pot of chile, or anything else sitting on your stove. Nor can you get salmonella, unless you stir it with a contaminated implement after cooking. It's unlikely that you'd get any of the "name" food poisonings. Any illness you'd get would probably be caused by a build-up of toxins secreted by a large colony of everyday environmental bacteria, and that isn't going to a happen overnight.

                                                                              I'd eat it -- I don't specifically remember eating chile, but I've eaten similar things in similar situations.

                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                Hi ruth.

                                                                                The botulism thing was me trying to be funny. But thanks for the extra information. As for the rest I believe you are misinformed. Not that I am serv-safe certified or anything but an average colony of bacteria can reach dangerous levels within 4 hours if held at a temperature between 40 - 140 with the higher and lower ends being obviously very low risk but the closer you get to body temp. the faster they grow. Chili overnight absolutly poses a problem for food born illness. The only thing I said about salmonela was in respnose to a rogue thread about mayonaise not chili.

                                                                                Also, I am serv-safe certified. What everyday environmental bacteria are you speaking of there is salmonella, staphyloccoccus, clostridium botulinum, vibrio parahaemolyticus and vibrio vulnificus,shigellosis, listeriosis, clostridum perfringens, bacillus cereus, campylobacteriosis, e coli, yersiniosis. My point is that everyday bacteria that grow to dangerous levels that make you sick when you eat them are by definition "food poisioning" Please realize that wether you become ill because if a toxin or an infection it is still "food poisoning"

                                                                                In the end I would also eat the chili but only after I had heated it to 165 degrees as to insure that the most likely bacterial suspects were killed.

                                                                            2. I would eat it. Plain and simple, but too each their own.

                                                                              1. The list of things that I would'nt or haven't eaten after sitting out all night is much smaller than the list of things that I have and will eat after sitting out all night. I wouldn't eat dairy products. That's about it.

                                                                                1. Man, I am bummed at how many people would pitch the food! Boil it and eat it! But for sure, you better boil it.

                                                                                  BTW, I have found that veggie food lasts much longer without spoiling in general than foods containing animal protein. When I went veggie, this was something I had not expected. I know I know, all that FDA stuff posted here about scary plant foods, but all I can tell you is my personal experience. And keeping a clean kitchen, which I assume all of us here do, helps a lot.

                                                                                  Oh, and another thing. It is worse to stick a hot pot into the fridge to cool off -- THAT is when you endanger your whole larder. And I would assume that the pot of chili was still pretty hot, if they made a pot the size of what I would make.

                                                                                  Whatever, the poster is still alive to post ;-0

                                                                                  1. A few points to consider: Bacteria have a doubling time of about 20 minutes. Broth is a very happy place for them since it provides easy access to nutrients. It's not just eating the bacteria but the toxins they have been producing that can make you sick. (Boiling does NOT wipe out the toxins.) If you're going to leave stuff out for a while to cool, you should put the lid on it while it's still boiling, let it boil a few minutes more, turn the heat off, then not reopen it until you're ready to put it away. (The spoilage organisms are in the air, no matter how clean your house is.) I still wouldn't eat it, though, if it were left out overnight. OK, maybe leftover from my favorite restaurant, but definitely not soup.

                                                                                      1. I leave things on the stove a lot, especially when I cook something late and use a cast iron dutch oven. The pan takes so long to cook and I dont want to put a hot pan in the fridge and i am often not going to stay up to wait for the pan to cool.

                                                                                        1. I have to be really careful with this kinda stuff. I have a stomach that will get upset in no time.
                                                                                          However, given the circumstances as we read them, I think I'd put it in the fridge and reheat it that night. If it was a large pot, I may split it and freeze half. That way it wasn't kicking around the fridge/stove/fridge/stove for too long.

                                                                                          DT

                                                                                          1. Depends on how cold my house was. If it was somewhat cold overnight, then yeah- I'd eat it!

                                                                                            Not so sure if I'd do that during the summer... but then, I wouldn't be cooking chili in summer either. Our kitchen is not air-conditioned.

                                                                                            1. I'm about to try it now. Will let you know what happened.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: cleesi

                                                                                                So we did the same thing a few nights ago, same chili, what was your outcome cleesi?
                                                                                                I trialed some spoonfuls, no effects. Would like to try a larger portion but am anxious to see what your result was. :) Thanks.

                                                                                                1. re: travis8303

                                                                                                  been a month, cleesi never replied. do we send out a search party?

                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                    You check the morgues, I'll check the hospitals.

                                                                                                    DT

                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                      I think Cleesi decided to have a little joke on us.

                                                                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                                                                        what if you had a funeral and nobody came . . .

                                                                                                        and back to the original post from 3 1/2 years ago. someone left some chili in a tightly covered bowl that ended up in a stack of empty food containers that didn't get put away for 4 days. As I was cleaning it out of the container, the phone rang. Creature of habit that I am, I licked off my chili covered finger so that I could answer the phone. . . and suddenly realized I had just consumed 4 day old chili, albeit a very small amount. Still I was pretty sure I was gonna be sick, but for some reason I had no ill effects.

                                                                                                        Now please don't think that I am recommending this as a normal practice. But it does make me wonder . . .

                                                                                                2. Yeah. I'd still eat it.

                                                                                                  1. Just noticed that I posted six years ago saying what I said here, so I won't. But I AM still alive after six more years of eating left-out leftovers.