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Apr 18, 2012 09:45 PM

Pressure-cooked chickpeas left in pot for hours

I cooked some chickpeas in the pressure cooker and let the pressure come down naturally. But, it had just come down when I needed to leave the house quickly and didn't want to put something so warm in the fridge. (I don't know why I didn't think of just rinsing them in cool water... I was in a rush!) Anyway, I thought I'd be back in 2 hours, but I got sidetracked and the beans sat in the (unopened) pressure cooker for 5 or 6 hours. I rinsed and refrigerated them, but I'm wondering if there is any risk that something bad happened to them in that time. Any insight would be appreciated!

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  1. not a chance. the worst that could happen is they got mushy and then you're halfway to hummus.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hill food

      Agreed. Hummus could get pasty but that's about all

    2. No one can be absolutely sure, but most likely it is fine. The reason is that you have essentially sanitized the pot content when you bought it up to a boil, and you have kept the pot unopened. Now, if you are still unsure, you can always bring your food back up to boil just for a few minutes again.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I agree. Any bacteria in the beans should have been killed. The pot is sealed. If you place the beans in a container straight out of the dishwasher, or which you have otherwise thoroughly cleaned, it is likely they are OK. They may have absorbed water, and might be mushy. As CK says, you can't be absolutely, totally sure however. If someone in your home has compromised immunity, you might not want to chance it.

        1. re: sueatmo

          < If someone in your home has compromised immunity, you might not want to chance it.>

          Very good perspective.

      2. If you are concerned, pressure cook them for 5 minutes, normal release this time. That'll kll anything that might have taken residence and grown in there.

        1. Very, very, very low chance of any problems. The high temperature killed off most bacteria (possibly including tough endospore-formers like the bacteria responsible for botulism), keeping the lid on prevented contamination after the cooking, and 5-6 hours is barely longer than the 4 hour recommendation which is formulated assuming the worst holding practices (that the food does get exposed to significant contamination AND that it's held in optimal temperatures/conditions for bacterial growth).

          In talking about microbes in real-world situations, no one can assure you with absolute certainty that anything is 100% safe, but in this case, your chickpeas should be at least as safe as most things we eat on a regular basis.

          1. Thanks for all the thoughtful replies! I decided to be extra-cautious and re-pressure cook them for a bit. I'm using them for hummus, and I prefer them almost mushy for that purpose anyway. I'm sure I've eaten much riskier foods in my life (salad bars, delis, and picnics come to mind), but when preparing it myself, I am much more nervous!