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Left out overnight

I cooked collard greens and ham hocks in a crock pot for several hours. WE had some leftover and I was going to free them. I put them into a freezer container and left it on the counter to cool... and forgot about them. They were left out for about 12 hours..... are they safe to put in the freezer to eat later???

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  1. It depends on how concerned you are. I tend to be a bit more willing to eat something that's been sitting out for a while than most, so I would probably consider it (heating up til quite hot before eating), but not feed to company.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LaureltQ

      I agree, I have a high threshold for tossing but that's when I'm considering eating the food. This post reminded me of Thanksgiving when the collards often sit out for who knows how long and no one has gotten sick but of course it's a personal risk judgment.

    2. No. I'm sorry, but the rule of thumb is 2 hours at room temperature. It's not worth getting sick, no matter your time, expense, or how delicious they were.

      1. Happens several times a year to me.

        I cook 4-6 days a weeks at home and never have gotten sick but hot summers and warm weather can be a cause for more caution.

        In fact I made a big pot of homemade Sunday Gravy/marinara on Friday nite (sic) and I let cool on the stove after dinner around 7pm only to go to bed and wake up to find it at 7am. Oops.

        I keep my house between 62 and 69F these days and just tossed it into containers and into the fridge and freezer.

        I bring to a boil when I reheat or nuke so I have little fear for what could have gone on in that short time frame.

        If in a restaurant or serving to guests? No. But for me at home alone or with the SO I have yet to have a problem. More than a decade and longer no food born illness for me.

        But I;m not a "skeered of that stuff" kinda guy. :)
        And I;m usually pretty vigilant.

        Some may fear monger but I say Eat away.

        1. If it were 5-6 hours, I'd say keep it but 12 hours is a long time at room temp. I'd toss it.

          1. We are forever doing exactly that - cooking something at dinner time then forgetting to freeze it before going to bed. We just freeze it in the morning. Wouldnt do it in hot weather, though - but this time of year in the north of northern hemisphere, I dont have a problem.

            1. For the cost of what you have in the dish, you may want to ask if it is worth you or your family getting really sick? I will still throw out $1 worth of food to avoid the porcelain goddess.

              1. I left out frozen whole chicken in my kitchen sink overnight...cooked it and ate it.

                1. Are you asking whether I would eat it, or whether you should eat it?

                  Those are two very different questions.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Good point. And no one here knows if the poster has any type of immune issues that maybe even the poster does not even know they actually have.

                    "But hey, go ahead and eat it because I eat/ate (fill in the blank) and did not get sick so it must be safe!"

                  2. i would.

                    just reheat very well when you thaw and eat.

                    1. It depends how much risk you want to take. Considering that you have put a lid and cap the container and that you may have added vinegar to your recipe (right?), you may be ok. However, I would actually bring the pot back to a boil before cooling it down and and put it in freezer. Basically, use the boiling to do one last disinfection.

                      1. i would, no hesitation. we do this quite a lot of the time, unless it was very hot in the kitchen, and have never gotten sick. others will say why risk it. i don't feel it's that much of a risk. wasting food is anathema to me. and it's not about the money.

                        1. I regularly cook things in the slow cooker, then turn it off, and turn it back on 12-18 hours later, to eat again.
                          Of course, I don't open the crock from the moment it was boiling to the moment I reheat it, so chance of infection is low.
                          If you had the lid on the container, it should be fine. US regulations are possibly the strictest I've ever seen. The rest of the world is still alive - just make sure you cook it again before eating.