11

votes

Good websites for cooking and food storage information?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 12, 2012 at 7:33 PM

It seems like every day I have some simple kitchen question, which I have no idea the answer to. Things like:

1) If I make a crock pot, and eat some of it, can I keep it on the keep warm setting and eat it for dinner 6 hours later? Or should it go in the fridge?

2) If I open a pack of bacon do I need to store it in foil or just fold it up and throw it in the fridge?

3) How long can I leave cooked sweet potatoes on the stove top before I shouldn't eat them? How about in the warm and off oven?

4) Do I really need to wash off meat before putting in the crock pot? (I always forget to)

5) How long can I keep meat I just bought at the store in the fridge before it goes bad? Should I freeze it all immediately?

6) Do I need to cover all things up when i refrigerate them?

7) Does it matter how i defrost things? (I just put them frozen in the crock pot or skillet)

That's just off the top of my head...

My mom spoiled me and I never really learned my way around the kitchen. Also my mom and grandmom sometimes have differing opinions on questions such as these.

Any good resources for this kind of stuff that start at the dummy level?

Found some useful threads on here...

Thanks.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on June 15, 2012
at 03:44 PM

YOU are very welcome! I have a lot in there about "cross-contamination" sorry 'bout that. Working with food for a living makes me umm... kinda rigid on some things :) Legit bouts of food poisoning are.the.worst. and I've had twice. The food was so good, was in Central America, that I kinda would still do it all over again! Good luck!

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on June 13, 2012
at 03:04 AM

+1 for the video.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:33 PM

You also need 10 upvotes, great response, thankyou. I just bake my sweet potatoes and leave in the jackets (meant to say this in my last comment too). Haven't tried any other way haha. Thanks!

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:29 PM

Awesome response, I wish I could give you 10 upvotes, thanks a ton!

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:39 PM

Great question. No great answers from me but I'm giving you a vote up!

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3 Answers

9
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on June 12, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Aww.. I want to give you a big hug! You'll get there! I'm texted all the time by friends asking loads of these same exact things. My friend Kasey asked me yesterday if red potatoes were good for her and could she put her cast iron pan in the oven. So if you have handy in the kitchen friends, definitely ask.

Different generations have different answers but all are valuable. If I were you, seriously, ask each of them to put together a Top __ list of basics that they know/use every day. Besides thrilling them you'll get some great stuff. Also, whenever you're home, ask to cook with them. They're not going to say no :)

Mark Bittman has a wonderful book called How To Cook Everything and it gives tricks and tips along with basic knowledge. Curl up at a bookstore or check out from your library. For online resources? Google. I'm not being facetious but that's where you'll find the answers using keywords. Just now I put in "basic cooking skills help" and found an awesome link from the BBC for skills which I'll be sending along to some friends. Youtube, too, as there are tons of instructionals for cooking and skills.

Good luck and have fun!

And to answer your questions:

1) If I make a crock pot, and eat some of it, can I keep it on the keep warm setting and eat it for dinner 6 hours later? Or should it go in the fridge? This will have different answers so I'll let the crockpotters take this one :)

2) If I open a pack of bacon do I need to store it in foil or just fold it up and throw it in the fridge? I prefer to have wrapped so meat juice doesn't cross-contaminate anything else in my fridge.

3) How long can I leave cooked sweet potatoes on the stove top before I shouldn't eat them? How about in the warm and off oven? Do you mean in their jackets? Smashed? Sliced/diced and roasted? If in the jackets I've left overnight by accident and tossed in the fridge the next day. I'm not dead. When other components are added, such as a fat, I will try to have in the fridge within an hour or so.

4) Do I really need to wash off meat before putting in the crock pot? (I always forget to) The USDA says there's no point in rinsing meat before cooking it. However you plan to cook your meat, if you're cooking to the appropriate internal temperature, anything on the outside will be long dead, whether your meat is headed for a searing hot pan or the oven. Rinsing meat does one thing though: it washes all of the bacteria off of the meat and all over your sink, raising the risk of cross contamination.

5) How long can I keep meat I just bought at the store in the fridge before it goes bad? Should I freeze it all immediately? There is a date on all packages and typically you're good within a few days after the "sell by date." When buying think about what you want to make and if you have any plans coming up that might hinder your cooking. You can always thaw out what is frozen, cooked keeps longer than raw, and always smell the protein if you're not sure. If it smells bad, in the trash.

6) Do I need to cover all things up when i refrigerate them? Depends on what you're covering. Berries and hard veg? No need. Leafy greens? Wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a drawer. Meat? Yes - it dries out and exposed also means the chance of cross-contamination.

7) Does it matter how i defrost things? (I just put them frozen in the crock pot or skillet) Letting meat thaw in the refrigerator is the absolute best method because the meat is never in the temperature danger zone where bacteria grows quickly. That means nerd time! 41?? - 135??. Also, you can unwrap the frozen meat and place it in a bowl big enough to hold it. Place the bowl with the meat under gentle running water in the sink. The water should be slightly cool to the touch. Leave the meat under the water until it has completely thawed. For a thin chicken breast or a few sausages, this usually takes about 20 minutes. Larger cuts of meat can take about an hour. Don't leave the meat out for more than four hours. Sanitize the sink after removing the meat. Yeah, it does take a lot of water, but this method is safer than simply letting meat thaw on the counter because the running water keeps the temperature regulated and also prevents bacteria from growing on the surface of the meat. Meat also thaws much quicker this way, so it's not in the temperature danger zone, more than four hours, for too long

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:29 PM

Awesome response, I wish I could give you 10 upvotes, thanks a ton!

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on June 15, 2012
at 03:44 PM

YOU are very welcome! I have a lot in there about "cross-contamination" sorry 'bout that. Working with food for a living makes me umm... kinda rigid on some things :) Legit bouts of food poisoning are.the.worst. and I've had twice. The food was so good, was in Central America, that I kinda would still do it all over again! Good luck!

6
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:12 PM

1) If I make a crock pot, and eat some of it, can I keep it on the keep warm setting and eat it for dinner 6 hours later? Or should it go in the fridge?

Yes, you can do that. I usually cook food in a crock pot long and low, so I would suggest transferring it to a container and putting it in the fridge. Most things I make in the crock pot are optimally tender at about 8 hours -- i.e. I take them out of there when I wake up in the morning -- and the food may change in texture after 6 more hours of cooking.

2) If I open a pack of bacon do I need to store it in foil or just fold it up and throw it in the fridge?

If it's cured bacon ahem you should throw it away and get uncured bacon. ;-) Seriously though, the cured stuff will last slightly longer than uncured, but the uncured is much healthier. I try to use any portion of uncured bacon I haven't used within a day. A better bet is just to cook it all, and reheat uneaten pieces as needed. Regardless, wrap or ziploc-bag the unused portion.

3) How long can I leave cooked sweet potatoes on the stove top before I shouldn't eat them? How about in the warm and off oven?

How are you cooking them? Are you boiling them for mashing? Just mash them, and store them in a container in the fridge for later use. Are you cooking up a bunch "just to have"? Consider just microwaving one as needed -- fork all around for holes, and microwave for about 4 minutes. Cut in half, slather with fat if desired, eat out of skin, discard skin.

4) Do I really need to wash off meat before putting in the crock pot? (I always forget to)

Yes. This isn't requisite for every little thing out there, but it's a good habit to get into. Always pat the meat dry before cooking (if it's going onto a grill or pan) or for seasoning.

5) How long can I keep meat I just bought at the store in the fridge before it goes bad? Should I freeze it all immediately?

Immediately freeze any meat you won't use by a day or so past it's sell by date; don't freeze any meat you don't have to. It just makes more time and work for you to remember to thaw.

6) Do I need to cover all things up when i refrigerate them?

Again, this is a good habit, but not a hard rule. You will expose whatever is in the container to unwanted moisture if it's not covered, which will effect it's consistency.

7) Does it matter how i defrost things? (I just put them frozen in the crock pot or skillet)

No - don't just throw frozen things in a pan! Frozen veggies in a stir fry? Weird, but you probably don't have to thaw those. Cooking something in the crock pot for 8 hours? Add an hour or two to the cooking time, probably -- but I would never recommend this. For everything else, let it thaw slowly (put in fridge more than 24 hours before use), and usually (especially for meats) let it come to room temp before cooking.

For an extreme version (and amusement), consider the ramifications of frozen turkey in a turkey fryer.

Experiment! Never be afraid to try something new, but always start simply. Cooking will be the most empowering thing you learn to do for yourself. :-) After time, you will be excited to experiment with new foods and combinations.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:33 PM

You also need 10 upvotes, great response, thankyou. I just bake my sweet potatoes and leave in the jackets (meant to say this in my last comment too). Haven't tried any other way haha. Thanks!

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on June 13, 2012
at 03:04 AM

+1 for the video.

2
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 12, 2012
at 11:54 PM

A good website to check out if you're new to both paleo and cooking is Nerd Fitness That link is to the recipe site -- but there are a lot of articles about learning to cook in a paleo kitchen and doing other cool things with food!

1) If I make a crock pot, and eat some of it, can I keep it on the keep warm setting and eat it for dinner 6 hours later? Or should it go in the fridge?

As long as your food is on the WARM setting, and it's staying over 140 degrees, you can keep it at that for as long as you want. I keep a perpetual crockpot of stock going for weeks on end, turning up the heat only when I add new bones or veggie scraps

2) If I open a pack of bacon do I need to store it in foil or just fold it up and throw it in the fridge?

It will dry out less if you store it in foil, but it will keep folded up in its own wrapper, safely, for a couple of days in the fridge -- as long as you remember to put it away right after taking out the portion you're going to use. I usually cook the whole package at once, and pack the cooked slices into serving-size packs in the fridge. It stores easier, and I can easily grab a bacon bag and toss some cooked bacon into just about anything! (bonus!)

3) How long can I leave cooked sweet potatoes on the stove top before I shouldn't eat them? How about in the warm and off oven?

I've left baked sweet potatoes in the oven accidentally overnight. Peeled and cooked (mashed, curried, sauteed, sweet-potato hashbrowns, etc.) I wouldn't leave out more than 4 hours. Sweet potato salad I put in the fridge within 30 minutes.

4) Do I really need to wash off meat before putting in the crock pot? (I always forget to)

No, but if you dry wipe it dry and brown it in a dutch oven before putting it in your crock pot, it will get a really nice, caramelized flavor and won't turn grey with the long cooking.

5) How long can I keep meat I just bought at the store in the fridge before it goes bad? Should I freeze it all immediately?

It depends on the meat and how its' packaged. Ground meat will usually keep 3-4 days. Stew meat will last about 4-5 days. Steaks and roasts will last a week. If your meat is packaged in the styrofoam containers, take it out and re-wrap in freezer wrap -- those containers and the cloths they put inside them are breeding grounds for bacteria. Personally, I like to wrap mine in freezer paper and put it in the freezer the day I get it (if I don't get it vac-sealed from my farmer) -- then, I just pull what I'm going to use in the next day or two out to thaw.

6) Do I need to cover all things up when i refrigerate them?

It will certainly help them keep their flavor better, and keep them from drying out. It also helps prevent strong-smelling things from getting their odor all over more delicately scented things!

7) Does it matter how i defrost things? (I just put them frozen in the crock pot or skillet)

It definitely matters how you defrost things. Cooking them directly from frozen is fine, from a safety point of view, as long as you make sure they're completely defrosted before you eat them (and if its ground meat, that it's cooked until all of the pink is gone). If you're going to defrost any other way, I recommend defrosting in the refrigerator. You can always put your package of frozen meats for a couple of days in the fridge and let them thaw, using them as they're completely thawed.

One advantage to thawing your meat is that your meat won't dry out as much in the cooking. If you cook your meat from frozen, you'll lose a lot more moisture during the cooking process than if you let it thaw and cook from thawed.

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