It is essential to keep prepared food out of the temperature danger zone.
If food is not going to be served within a very short time after cooking, then it should be cooled to under 10°C (50°F) within 90 minutes. The food must then be refrigerated immediately once cooled.
Quick cooling is important. While the food is dropping from its hot cooking temperature it will pass through the danger zone. It’s important that it spends as little time there as possible.
There are several ways to achieve rapid cooling.
Some commercial kitchens have blast chillers to chill down food very rapidly. Equipment like this is beyond the means of many commercial kitchen owners, never mind home cooks. There are other ways to speed up the cooling process:
- divide the food into smaller portions
- transfer the food to a cold container and immerse it in iced water
- place the food in the coldest part of the kitchen (providing, of course, that it’s not at risk of cross-contamination)
This is Chapter Six, Part Six in a series of articles broadly similar to the course offered by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health for its Food Hygiene Certificate.
Part Seven: Reheating cooked foods
Return to the start of Chapter Six