Questions on handling, preparing, and storing food in ways that prevent foodborne illness.

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50
votes
4answers
595k views

How do I know if food left at room temperature is still safe to eat?

If I left food out of the refrigerator for some period of time, is it still safe? If I left it out too long, can I salvage it by cooking it more?
67
votes
1answer
38k views

How long can I store a food in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer?

How do I know if a given food or ingredient I have is still good, or if I should discard it? How can I best preserve a food or ingredient? This broad question is intended as a "general reference" ...
21
votes
4answers
396k views

How long can cooked food be safely stored at room/warm temperature?

If I leave fully-cooked food (particularly meat) out at warm temperature - say on the counter or in a crock pot that's been turned off - how long will it stay safe to eat? Does it make any ...
44
votes
4answers
138k views

Why is it dangerous to eat meat which has been left out and then cooked?

If cooking meat kills bacteria, and bacteria are responsible for problems with eating meat which has been left out, then why is it dangerous to eat meat which has been left out at room temperature and ...
47
votes
9answers
314k views

Is there a problem with defrosting meat on the counter?

I generally defrost meat on the kitchen counter. A friend of mine suggested that this was dangerous and suggested that I defrost meat in the refrigerator. I am no biologist but it seems to me that as ...
55
votes
9answers
465k views

How dangerous is it to refreeze meat that has been thawed?

I've often been told by people that I shouldn't refreeze meat (particularly hamburger meat) once it has been thawed. However, this seems a little silly to me. I can't imagine how meat that hasn't ...
16
votes
1answer
9k views

What do I need to know about temperature and food safety?

What general rules do I need to follow to keep my food safe? How do I know what temperature to cook something to, or whether my food is safe at room temperature?
18
votes
7answers
153k views

Is it safe to cook a steak that was left out (raw) for 7 hours?

I left a round steak out for 7 hours in a container of cold water. It was wrapped very well, hadn't been opened yet. Is it ok to cook this? I planned on cooking it in the crockpot for 8 hours.
16
votes
8answers
20k views

Botulism, Garlic, Cold pressed Olive oil and mason jars

I make a product I invented called Maybe It's Marinade. Cold pressed extra virgin olive olive, pressed garlic as the base in three varieties, AoliOliO, Dill and Cayenne Pepper, garlic powder, and ...
80
votes
11answers
539k views

Is it safe to eat potatoes that have sprouted?

I'm talking about potatoes that have gone somewhat soft and put out shoots about 10cm long. Other online discussions suggest it's reasonably safe and the majority of us have been peeling and eating ...
10
votes
5answers
8k views

Can adequate heating transform spoiled food into safe food?

Suppose I have some food that became unsafe or contaminated by any means besides explicitly adding dangerous substances. It could be past the expiration date, or handled unsafely by leaving at room ...
31
votes
6answers
85k views

Frying Oil Reuse

What are some guidelines or rules with regard to filtering and reusing (vegetable/canola/sunflower) oil that has been used for deep frying? Is it safe and acceptable under some circumstances to ...
10
votes
8answers
220k views

Is it bad to leave the crock pot on “warm” (not low) all day?

I just bought all the ingredients to make a soup in the crock pot. I was planning on having it cook all day, but I just realized the recipe only calls for it to cook on low for 3-4 hours. If I cook it ...
75
votes
10answers
89k views

Is it safe to put hot food in the fridge?

I heard that putting really warm food in the fridge right after cooking it is not the right thing to do. It might cause bacterial growth? Is this true?
40
votes
11answers
111k views

How long can I keep eggs in the refrigerator?

To keep eggs useful and healthy, what is the average time I can keep them in refrigerator? Can I freeze, and re-use them after melting, or will they be useless or not healthy to eat?
31
votes
8answers
23k views

Is it safe to eat raw eggs?

I have a friend that is training for a marathon and he drinks 6 raw eggs before running (Yes, like Rocky) - is this safe?
90
votes
11answers
63k views

Is it safe to leave butter at room temperature?

Is it safe to leave butter at room temperature? If so, for how long is it safe to keep it out?
12
votes
2answers
23k views

Safe to wash rice the night before and leave overnight before cooking?

I'm trying to figure out a convenient way to bring fresh rice for lunch. Cooking it the night before and leaving it in the fridge causes it to become dry and hard and unpleasant, and I've read that it'...
14
votes
10answers
34k views

Can you reuse marinade used with raw chicken?

I marinated chicken a couple weeks ago, and stored the marinade afterwards in a jar. Can it be reused, or is that dangerous? I've been told conflicting stories here. The marinade is mostly teriyaki if ...
38
votes
14answers
571k views

How to quickly and safely defrost chicken?

What is the safest, quick way to defrost chicken? Microwave? Running water over it?
18
votes
2answers
27k views

Is smell a bad way of determining whether meat is still good?

I have always relied on my sense of smell to determine whether meat (most often chicken) is bad and I thought it was reliable. However, I have just heard that [1] smell is not always reliable, since ...
27
votes
3answers
21k views

Never ending soup; is it actually safe?

In the poor student or youth worker days it was popular to have never ending soup; a large pot on the stove that was topped up with new and leftover ingredients when available. Normally the pot was ...
22
votes
6answers
16k views

Cure for burns from hot peppers / capsicum oil?

So, I foolishly ignored advice about wearing gloves while handling hot peppers. I thought since they were "just" anaheim peppers I'd be fine... I was wrong, and I repent. Does anyone know of a way ...
13
votes
6answers
10k views

dry garlic in oil --> botulism risk?

My girlfriend and I are thinking of preparing some flavored oils for Christmas presents this year (don't tell anyone!). We've read online that fresh garlic presents a health hazard when stored at room ...
14
votes
7answers
7k views

Is Teflon dangerous?

I've read that non-stick saucepans using Teflon are dangerous. Why do so many people still use them including all the professional chefs, and how do you personally feel about using them after reading ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

How effective are modern home refrigerators at keeping other foods cool when hot food is introduced to the space?

In the comments to this answer, there is some discussion as to whether putting significant mass of hot food into a refrigerator will unacceptably warm the other food already inside. Elsewhere on ...
0
votes
2answers
257 views

power outage/frozen meat

We were on vacation for a week. The neighbor said we were out of power the whole time. We have a chest freezer full of beef. It thawed but remained in the freezer unopened the whole time. Is the meat ...
11
votes
3answers
11k views

Can I sous-vide meat (at a temperature between 40ºF and 140ºF) for more than four hours?

According to the USDA cooking chicken at 145ºF (63ºC) for 13 minutes (i.e. maintaining an internal temperature of 145ºF for that long) will bring about a "7 log10 relative reduction of salmonella". A ...
11
votes
2answers
961 views

How does salmonella get into eggs?

Since a few hundred million eggs have been recalled, I'm wondering how salmonella gets into eggs in the first place. Is it getting on the shells from the environment (or the hen)? Is it inside the egg?...
29
votes
4answers
8k views

Is it safe to eat a cooked steak that (briefly) touched the plate that was holding the raw meat?

So I just finished preparing a perfect-looking steak, and as per usual, my apartment's hypersensitive smoke detector decided to go off. Not wanting to put the steak back into the pan, in one ...
21
votes
9answers
304k views

How long is it safe to drink coffee after brewed?

How many hours/days would you recommend to drink coffee (after brewed) and consider it safe? (For example if you don't want to waste it). What is the difference if it is refrigerated or not? The ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

Rules for refreezing food

What are the general rules regarding when can you refreeze food that was frozen and then thawed in the fridge? and what are the reasons behind them? (Hygiene? Food quality?). Let's assume for the sake ...
15
votes
3answers
22k views

Coconut Water from White vs Brown Coconuts

The warning label on each coconut describes how to treat the water within each. The water on the brown coconut is to be discarded; the water on the white coconut is safe for consumption. In what ...
20
votes
8answers
151k views

How to keep my (deep frying) oil usable as long as possible?

I have a new deep fryer. I am pleased with its results so far. I am not a 'heavy user' though - say once every 2-3 weeks. I want to re-use the oil a couple of times. The deep fryer is covered but not ...
14
votes
1answer
7k views

Room temperature “rest” for fresh mayo?

On the mayonnaise episode of Good Eats, Alton Brown recommends letting homemade mayo sit at room temperature for 4-8 hours before refrigerating. The idea is to let the acid in the mayo kill any ...
27
votes
5answers
28k views

Is “until juices run clear” a valid test for poultry doneness? Why or why not?

I've come across this particular recommendation many times in various recipes and cookbooks and probably even given it out myself once or twice. Poultry is sufficiently cooked when the juices run ...
45
votes
8answers
20k views

Is it safe to eat moldy cheese if you slice off the edges?

Whenever my cheese gets too old and has a bit of blue/white mold on the side, I'm not sure whether I should throw it completely out or not. Is it safe to eat if I cut off the edge? Should I cut a bit ...
18
votes
6answers
548k views

I need to quickly and safely thaw frozen ground beef, what are my options?

Since reading the answers to my question about defrosting meat on the counter I've been good about giving my meat time to defrost in the refrigerator. However, my plans for tonight have changed and I'...
17
votes
5answers
179k views

How long can eggs be unrefrigerated before becoming unsafe to eat?

A friend of mine accidentally left a carton of eggs on her counter, unrefrigerated, for three days. The eggs had been previously refrigerated both at the store and at home. Now she's planning to do ...
25
votes
4answers
96k views

Why isn't it safe to eat raw chicken?

Why is safe to eat some raw or undercooked meats like beef and fish (assuming you're careful), but not chicken? I know that there are bacteria in chicken, but are they in all chicken, or just so many ...
13
votes
5answers
38k views

Should maple syrup be stored in the refrigerator?

Is there any reason to store maple syrup in the refrigerator? It tastes better when it's a little warmer.
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Garlic Infused Oil—Safety

I recently received a bottle of garlic and herb infused olive oil as a gift. It came in a fancy bottle with a cork on top. I tried it out last night and it's terrific. I've heard about the dangers of ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it safe to use oil at its smoking point?

Teflon toxicity and second degree burns aside, are there any health issues related to cooking with oil at or past its smoking point? Googling a bit I found one article that went so far as to say you ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Can one preserve food by periodically heating it?

I get that keeping food temperature low will slow down chemical reactions and preserve food, but sometimes my sister preserves food by heating it every 6 hours or so (up to 1-2 days). Does this help ...
21
votes
5answers
7k views

How do you properly clean a cutting board and knife to prevent cross contamination?

I have one very nice cutting board that I like to use with my chef's knife. Because I only use this single cutting board and chef's knife, if I have a recipe that calls for cutting raw meat as well ...
28
votes
3answers
111k views

What is the internal temperature a steak should be cooked to for Rare/Medium Rare/Medium/Well?

I'd like to know when to take my steaks off the grill and please everybody.
5
votes
1answer
39k views

What are the acceptable methods to thaw food items?

What are the proper ways to thaw foods? Are there any advantages or disadvantages to them?
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Best chopping board material for meat

I've heard that using a wooden chopping board for cutting meat is not very hygienic as it is a porous material. If that is the case, then what would a chopping board ideally be made out of when ...
9
votes
2answers
998 views

How can I make yogurt at home?

What are the requirements for making yogurt at home. Is there a solid recipe for making yogurt?
26
votes
7answers
190k views

Is ground beef that was in the refrigerator for two weeks and has turned brown still usable?

I bought some ground beef around 2 weeks ago and used half of it, putting the rest in a freezer bag in my fridge (not the freezer). It has since turned brown (not red, as when I bought it). Is it ...