5 Elements in Properly Cooling Food

Properly cooling food is essential in food safety. Food must be properly cooled to ensure that pathogens do not have time to grow during the ” danger temperature” period. The temperature danger zone is between 40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Properly cooling food can reduce the risk greatly of foodborne illness. Here are five essential elements of proper cooling.

1. The Cooling Element

You have two hours to cool food from 135 degrees to 70 degrees. Then four hours to cool it from 70 degrees to 40 degrees or below. The first two hours of cooling is the most critical time. According to the Food Safety Council, freezers should be below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and -18 degrees Celsius for proper food storage. One of the most important elements in properly cooling food is the equipment. Proper maintenance of the equipment used for food cooling is vital to the process.

2. The Container Element

To quickly cool food a shallow pan with small servings is ideal. The type of container and the size of the portions will affect how quickly food will cool. The larger the portion the longer the cooling takes. Shallow metal pans work best for quick cooling. Plastics hold the heat. Metal draws heat away.

3. The Stirring Element

Stirring food as it cools can help to reduce heat in the food quickly. Using a frozen paddle can speed up the process of properly cooling food. Put the paddle in the freezer while the food cooks and use it when it is time to cool the food down.

4. The Size Element

It is not only the quantity of the food that is an element in properly cooled food, it is the overall size of the food. For example, a 10-pound roast will take longer to cool than a five-pound roast. The larger the food, the longer the cooling period. An ice bath can quickly help to cool larger food.

5. The Thickness Element

Food that is cooked with layers, like lasagna and other layered dishes, takes longer to cool. The thicker the food, the longer it takes to cool.

Properly cooled food is an important step in safe food handling. Learn more about how to properly cool food to keep it safe for consumption. Give us a call today for information on our Servesafe training online.