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Subject: Can I freeze scalloped potatoes and ham
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Ken Wood 
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 01:02:19 GMT
--------
I have just finished cooking way too much scalloped potatoes and ham. 
Can I just put the casserole dish with the scalloped potatoes and ham
in it in the chest freezer after it cools?

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: 14 Apr 2006 18:10:36 -0700
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Ken Wood wrote:
> I have just finished cooking way too much scalloped potatoes and ham.
> Can I just put the casserole dish with the scalloped potatoes and ham
> in it in the chest freezer after it cools?

Why even wait for it to cool... just push a piece of plastic wrap onto
the surface to prevent ice crystals, wrap in a plastic bag and
freeze... potatoes lose some texture with freezing but not so much with
this type of dish that you'll really notice.  Don't forget to remove
all the plastic when reheating.

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From: Budd Tugley 
Date: 14 Apr 2006 18:33:40 -0700
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>Why even wait for it to cool

Because smart people who know about food sanitation know you don't put
hot foods in the freezer.  You don't even put hot foods in the
refrigerator.

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From: Edwin Pawlowski 
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 02:57:46 GMT
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Budd Tugley wrote:
> Because smart people who know about food sanitation know you don't put
> hot foods in the freezer.  You don't even put hot foods in the
> refrigerator.

You just let it sit on the counter and grow bacteria for a couple of hours? 
You were correct in the days of ice boxes and in-efficient refrigerators. 
Today, it will not heat up the freezer enough to make an appreciable 
difference and it will cool the dish faster. 

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From: Budd Tugley 
Date: 14 Apr 2006 21:18:26 -0700
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>You just let it sit on the counter and grow bacteria for a couple of hours?

Uhhh...no I don't.  But there IS a 4-hour time limit where it's
possible to do just that.  *Properly handled food* is essentially
sterile when it comes off the stove.    I cool my dishes in a cold
water bath in the sink whenever possible.  Similar to what restaurants
do.  The problem with bunging a hot caserole into the fridge or freezer
is that the central part of the dish can remain burning hot...thus
heating up the "cooler" parts of the dish (as it cools) and it MAY not
get cool enough to avoid contamination from any bugs that MAY be there.

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From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 14 Apr 2006 22:14:56 -0700
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Budd Tugley wrote:
> Because smart people who know about food sanitation know you don't put
> hot foods in the freezer.  You don't even put hot foods in the
> refrigerator.

Actually, you want to put in the fridge right away for the fastest
cooling posible. The key is not to cover it until it is chilled.

Leaving it to sit at room temp only encourages bacteria growth.

============================

From: Budd Tugley 
Date: 14 Apr 2006 22:55:48 -0700
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friesian wrote:
>Actually, you want to put in the fridge right away for the fastest
>cooling posible. The key is not to cover it until it is chilled.

I cover all my warm/hot foods to prevent air bourne yeasts (which are
everywhere) from settling on them.    If you're going to make a
statement like that you need to say "stir the food as it cools so it
all cools evenly."  Putting food with a "hot core" into the fridge is
*potentially* a trouble making action.

============================

From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 14 Apr 2006 23:07:15 -0700
--------
Budd Tugley wrote:
> I cover all my warm/hot foods to prevent air bourne yeasts (which are
> everywhere) from settling on them.    If you're going to make a
> statement like that you need to say "stir the food as it cools so it
> all cools evenly."  Putting food with a "hot core" into the fridge is
> *potentially* a trouble making action.

If it is placed in a shallow pan, then stirring is not required. Also,
you made a statement that it could be left out, but only later added
that you use a cold water bath. Your early statement was much more
dangerous than putting something in the fridge without stirring.

As it happens, I had an argument awhile back with a coworker about the
proper procedure when pulling hot whole chickens from the hot case and
saving them cold usage.

My co-worker believed that we needed to leave them out first, and not
put them in the cooler. I disagreed and sent an email to the health
department.

This is the response:

"You are correct. The chicken needs to go directly to the cooler for
cooling and not left out. They need to be left uncovered until they are
45 degrees F or below before being wrapped or put in covered
containers."

I was surprised about the uncovered part and replied:

"Thanks. So, we should open the containers when we pull them from the
hot case? They are already wrapped as they have been sitting on the
hotcase for 5 hours or more when we pull them. "

And the reply:

"Yes, if they are to be cooled. When the new code is implemented in May
2005, products can be loosely covered if they will cool to 41 or below
within a certain time frame. For now, They need to be uncovered so
rapid cooling will occur. "

Also, if the health department comes in and finds anything sitting out
that is not below 41 F or above 140F, it's garbage. Doesn't matter if
we just put it there. If it isn't being properly handled, they will
toss it in the trash.

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From: Budd Tugley 
Date: 15 Apr 2006 10:58:11 -0700
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friesian wrote:
>Also,
>you made a statement that it could be left out, but only later added
>that you use a cold water bath.

I thought I made that clear.  To recap:  I usually leave the food sit
loosely covered for a half hout or so, while I clean up the kitchen.
THEN I put it away or freeze it.   If I have a soup or casserole that's
very thick I will plop it into a cool bath.   I was trained (1996....so
I am sure certain guidelines have changed)  and I have ServSafe
certfication.  I'm a personal chef.  I won't put boiling hot food into
the fridge.  It's my way of doing things. That and it's the way I was
taught in culinary school.   It's preferable to get the cooked food
down to 40 degree or below as soon as possible.  That's the bottom
line.

============================

From: Jen 
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 01:12:22 GMT
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Ken Wood wrote:
>I have just finished cooking way too much scalloped potatoes and ham.
> Can I just put the casserole dish with the scalloped potatoes and ham
> in it in the chest freezer after it cools?

Don't know about freezing it.  But I'd love your recipe.  I usually just do 
a very basic one with milk and butter.

============================

From: djs0302[at]aol.com
Date: 14 Apr 2006 18:57:55 -0700
--------
Ken Wood wrote:
> I have just finished cooking way too much scalloped potatoes and ham.
> Can I just put the casserole dish with the scalloped potatoes and ham
> in it in the chest freezer after it cools?

You can but the potatoes are probably going to be mushy and the sauce
watery when you reheat the dish.  Potatoes are mostly water and when
you freeze them the freezing of the water in the cells of the potato
bursts the cell walls.  When the potato is thawed the water seeps out
and the potato is reduce to mush.

============================

From: readandpostrosie 
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 14:54:22 GMT
--------
Ken Wood wrote:
> I have just finished cooking way too much scalloped potatoes and ham.
> Can I just put the casserole dish with the scalloped potatoes and ham
> in it in the chest freezer after it cools? 

yes, it freezes quite well, imo.
i let it cool down in the refrig, before wrapping for storage in the 
freezer.


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