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I left cooked veggies out all night - safe to eat?

I think the title says it all. I roasted 2 bunches of asparagus in OO and lemon juice, and put them in a covered container but alas forgot to put it in the fridge. I figured I'd reheat by nuking them.

I would definitely toss poultry, seafood or beef but veggies? I'm not sure. Toss or keep?


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  1. Safe. Smell the dish, if it smells fine keep it.

    1. If I have to guess: I would say safe especially if your house is not too warm. Vegetables do not go bad quickly, neither is olive oil and lemon juice.

      Now if you have cream and milk in your sauce, then it is another story.

      1. Thanks for the responses. I was second-guessing myself, my instinct was that it's OK. But then again, I'm not one to tempt fate like that.


        2 Replies
        1. re: alwayshungrygal

          It is fine. You cover the dish. You left your dish out probably like 8 hour in a cool kitchen. Many people during summer left their foods out for picnic or for party for 4-5 hour in warmer temperature.

          Instinctively, we just feel like leaving the food out overnight (like 10PM to 7 AM) to be much worse than during daylight (like 10 AM to 7 PM). In reality, the latter is worse.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            "Instinctively, we just feel like leaving the food out overnight (like 10PM to 7 AM) to be much worse than during daylight (like 10 AM to 7 PM). In reality, the latter is worse."

            Agreed, but then again, I don't do much cooking in the morning, ever. I think most of us are doing our main cooking at night, with refrigeration needed after that.

            Thanks for your reply!

        2. In foodservice the maximum time for any food to sit out at room temp is 2 hours.

          Also, you can't smell the presence of food toxins.

          5 Replies
          1. re: elegraph

            Food service has to be pretty conservative. I'm sure you or someone you know has eaten food that's been out at a party longer than 2 hours.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              Can you imagine sticking to that "rule" at home? At Thanksgiving or Christmas, I would have to take the food off the table and throw it in the garbage! Or at a cocktail party....take the food off the tables and the plates from my guests hands and Saran Wrap it for the fridge! "Excuse me....you must stop eating that dip now, the timer went off"......Lol.

              1. re: sedimental

                That's right. That is exactly what I was getting at. In real life parties, people put out foods for hours.

              2. re: fldhkybnva

                There are many food-borne toxins that can be avoided by proper time and temperature control. If you are in good health and don't mind being sidelined by cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, feel free to eat food that has been sitting out at room temp for long periods of time. But in the interest of being a good hostess, it isn't hard to put out small amounts of an appetizer at one time and replenish it as needed, or to wrap and refrigerate leftovers within two hours of starting a meal.

                I don't mean to be critical or contentious here, I just think it's more enjoyable for everyone if nobody gets sick from improper food handling. For that reason I do stick to that "rule" whether at the restaurant kitchen or at home.

              3. re: elegraph

                I work for a catering company that does very large events and sometimes the function is longer than 2 hours. The quality (decline) of the food that is out will depend on whether it is held in a chaffing dish, carved to order or meant to be room temp. Back-up hot food is kept in a cart with sterno, everything else is in carts but not kept cold (more often than not, the function is not very close to refrigeration). Optimally, we would like to keep the service time to 2 hours but sometimes you just can't fight the client's plan.

                I asked for input as I figured home cooks would do differently than we do as a company. And again, I wasn't trusting my instincts.

                Thanks for your response.

              4. I'd be more worried about you deciding whether or not to eat these vegetables based solely on the input of Chowhounds than if you just are them.

                1. If you have to ask...no, it's not safe. Throw it away.

                  1. i'd eat seafood that was left out all night too.

                    1. If my kitchen is cool and the food is covered I will eat it

                      Often I finish food late that I am making ahead and it is quite hot (say a casserole) - I would prefer to let it cool on the counter and refrigerate in the morning than put hot food in a cold refrigerator - In winter my kitchen is quite cool at night and this does not concern me, in the heat of summer its ice bath and refrigerate.

                      1. I read leaving rice out is really unsafe.

                        5 Replies
                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            me too -- all the time i do this.

                            collards with bacon, too.

                          2. re: iL Divo

                            Rice for sure is unsafe


                            I've gotten sick twice and it's pretty bad....

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              i had read that, too. so i was wary. i wonder if it has to do with the type of rice, the origins of the rice, or something in one's kitchen that affects any kind of rice?

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                I've been curious about this for a while. Did you get sick from rice from a restaurant, or at home? Can you identify any reason it made you sick, along the lines of what alkapal asked?

                            2. I eat dishes that's been left out all the time and have never gotten sick. That's including meat and seafood dishes. Like someone else mentioned I think if your kitchen is cool and the dish is covered, it's okay. Of course if it smelled funny, I wouldn't attempt it.

                              1. i've consistently gotten away with it, but i certainly wouldn't recommend it.

                                although i would feel fine eating the veggies myself, would not feel comfortable serving them to others.

                                i feel comfortable taking risks for myself that i would never take on behalf of others.. . .

                                weird, i know.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  Not weird. After all, it's your decision to chance it, but it's unfair to impose 24+ hours of GI upset on others without their consent.

                                2. Here's my rule of thumb with things being left out…
                                  Pretend you attended or threw a New Years Eve party. Snacks/food/apps were put out around 7 or so. After you rang in the New Year at midnight, you continued to drink and dance with your friends. It's now between 2 and 3 am, you're drunk, and the food is still sitting out. It looks great and you are suddenly starving. If you wouldn't have a problem eating it (and I wouldn't), then it's probably fine to leave something sitting out overnight and still eat it :)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                    and that is called -- technically -- the "oh heck yeah i'm drunk and i'll eat it" rule.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Exactly! Haven't died yet :) Although if I had gotten food poisoning it's not like I would hve noticed.

                                      1. re: schrutefarms

                                        heh heh…"reporting from the 'other' side"

                                    1. I would eat them. I would say tomorrow's roasted asparagus will be a room temp for hours before I get around to packing up the leftovers.

                                      Then again, to quote other CH's, "I live in a magic house" and have never gotten sick on any of my leftovers, refrigerated or otherwise.