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how long to cool down before refrigerating?

I always wonder what others do??

In this particular instance - as my eyes are closing --- I have a 8-10 Qt pot on the stove filled with stuffed cabbage simmering away. How long, once it is finished cooking, do I need to wait before putting it in the refrigerator? On the second hand..... Considering it is 11:30pm - and I think it will be finished at around 12 - 12:30 - can it sit out till around 5 am - when DH gets up for work and he can deal with putting it in the fridge then?

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  1. What's the weather/temperature like where you are right now, sg?

    1. It would probably be ok for that long, however the food would be in the danger zone of 40° to 140° for quite a long time. Here is what I would do, after the cooking is finished I would put the dish on a rack with a fan blowing across it. I have found the heat dissapates faster using a fan to cool a kettle of soup rather than the kettle sitting in a sink of ice water. If you have another container you can transfer the food to, I would put it in the refrigerator. Then I'd go to bed for 2 hours, get up and put the food into the now cold container and put it in the refrigerator. Or, if the original kettle is cool enough, just put it in the refrgerator.

      2 Replies
      1. re: John E.

        Please be really really careful when refrigerating food in its original cooking pot. I learned this the hard way when I put a big kettle of split pea soup into the fridge. I thought the pot was cool enough, but my glass refrigerator shelf disagreed!

        1. re: almond tree

          That's why I first suggested to cool it for at least two hours with a fan blowing on it and putting the food into another chilled container UNLESS the original kettle was cool enough.

      2. I agree with John. If you want to speed up the cooling, you can actively cooling the pot by placing it in cool water or by fan blowing it. In addition, as long as the container is not really hot, you can probably put it in the refrigerator.

        1. Also to assist in cooling you can put everything in a more shallow pan with more surface area.

          I think you have something like 2 hours to get your food from 140 to 80 degrees, and then another 4 hours from 80 to below 40. It's been years since I took a sanitation class though, so DON'T QUOTE ME IF YOU DIE!

          That being said, you could probably leave it out. It's just cabbage, right?

          FINAL ANSWER: Leave it out, let yer husband put it away,

          1 Reply
          1. re: J.Dish

            "DON'T QUOTE ME IF YOU DIE!"

            That's funny. (the fact that a dead person can quote)

          2. Fill a gallon ziploc bag with ice and drop it in your pot. Should be cool enough in minutes.