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Jun 17, 2012 04:19 AM

Red Sauce left out overnight - Still safe to eat?

Last night, after making a fresh batch of red sauce w/ sausage, I left it in the pot to cool on the stove. Unfortunately, I fell asleep and didn't remember to put in in the refrigerator until 5 this AM. The total time from coming off the heat until it was put away was about 8 hours.

Is it still safe to reheat/freeze and eat? Any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. I'd certainly freeze it. We regularly leave things out to cool overnight on the stove and don't freeze until morning.

    4 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Thanks for the advice. For those who suggesting "freezing" - are we just talking storage or does the freezing somehow make the sauce safer?

        1. re: freshlycured

          Just storage (that is what you were aksing about, wasn't it?)

          But I hope that in the 10 hours that have passed since your OP you've already taken some action.

          1. re: freshlycured

            Freezing doesn't kill microorganisms, it just slows them to a standstill so they don't multiply so much and affect more of the food. Whatever is in the food when you put it to sleep in the freezer, will still be there when you wake it up. Only heat will kill them off, or most of them.

            Personally, I'd eat the sauce after reheating it to kill the bacteria and tasting to see if it was still palatable. Unless the sauce wasn't that great to begin with. :)

      2. Low(ish) risk, but not zero risk. Reheating will kill most germs, and the acidity of the tomato sauce should work in your favor, but there is still at least some risk of staph toxin. As to whether or not to eat it or toss it - that depends on numerous factors: did anyone taste the sauce with a spoon and then put the spoon back in the pot; how cautious are you generally about food safety; are any of the people who might eat this sauce especially susceptible (pregnant, immonocompromised, particularly ill, very young or very old)?

        I'd probably reheat and eat were it just me doing the eating, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend that everyone do the same.

          1. When in doubt, throw it out. 8 hours is way past the 4 hour recommendation.

            1. If it had no meat, I'd say yes. But I'm with Wyogal when it comes to risk/benefit ratio here.