Soups, casseroles, and pot roasts are a great way to warm up on a cool autumn day. Super cooling a large quantity of hot leftovers or planned-overs made in advance is a good idea to keep food safe. Do not cool hot food at room temperature or place large quantities of hot food in the refrigerator. Both practices can cause food to be in the temperature danger zone (40°F–140°F) for too long, which may lead to bacterial growth. Options for super cooling include the following:
- Super cool a large roast or poultry by cutting it into smaller pieces. Refrigerate pieces in a single layer.
- Reduce large quantities of hot food by putting them in smaller, shallow metal pans. Place shallow pans in refrigerator or freezer to cool.
- Place a large pot of hot food in an ice bath (sink of ice and cold water). Stir occasionally until food is cool, then refrigerate.
Download Kitchen Companion: Your Safe Food Handbook from the USDA for home food safety guidance.