Cooling Before Freezing

Q. After you cook red beans, gumbo or other dishes that come by the large potful, should you let the leftovers cool to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator? And is there any difference as to how you care for different gumbos when eating them as leftovers?

A. The main reason you let large amounts of food cool before putting them in the refrigerator is to prevent the refrigerator from warming up, which might cause problems for everything else in there. However, most modern refrigerators cool things so quickly that it’s not usually a problem, unless it’s a very large pot of very hot stuff. For food safety, let it cool to no lower than 140 degrees before putting it into the reefer.

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