Everyone loves good foods, but can you serve great food without safety requirements?
Most cooks know that holding food temperature properly is one of the key points to this problem. But what is the best way to judge the cooking and holding temperatures of food?
Read on, and the following article will show you a satisfactory answer!
Table of Contents
Why are Holding Food Temperatures So Important?
Many people think holding temperatures of food merely serves the purposes of preserving our meal’s flavor. In fact, this act is more like a critical control point to ensure the food is safe to eat.
If you are a foodaholic who cares much about food safety, then the terms “The temperature danger zone of food” may be no stranger to you.
This danger zone temperature ranges from 41 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Since most bacteria grow rapidly with no sign of stopping between 70 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit, if the food stays in this temperature range for a particular time (more than 2 hours), those nasty little beings will start to take over the food.
The invasion of bacteria can cause food-borne illness, spoil the food, and make it dangerous for consumption. And, the only way to deal with spoiled food is to toss it away or bury it underground. The point is: The meal you worked so hard to prepare is ruined forever!
All things considered, maintaining the proper temperature for holding food and monitoring the holding process is of paramount importance if you plan to keep your food from wandering into the danger zone, and stay safe enough for you to consume.
How Many Ways to Judge the Cooking and Holding Temperatures of Food?
When it comes to judging the cooking and holding temperatures of food, there are 2 common ways to do this task:
The first option is the old fashion way – using our senses. This might sound rather impractical. But, in daily life, most of us actually use this way to judge the cooking of the food. Either it’s fresh or spoiled, good or bad, we use our eyes and sometimes our hands and nose to suspect.
However, in some circumstances, like when buying food from the supermarket, there will be a thick layer of food wrap stand between you and the food. You might not be able to work your magic senses.
Let’s say, if judging the cooking and holding temperatures of food is always that easy, no one would ever buy bad food, right? However, that’s not the case.
Thanks to the great power of science and our phenomenal scientists, a super handy tool to judge the cooking and exact holding temperatures of food had been born – a Food thermometer. In a nutshell, to tell if the food is safe to eat or best for flavor, the ideal holding temperature before cooking should be maintained. Food thermometers are made explicitly for that.
There are two types of food thermometers – the analog and the digital thermometer. The difference between the two is the way each type reads temperature. For analog, the temperature is read manually by a dial or by graduation markings. With the digital one, the temperature can be obtained in the drop of a hat, and the value will instantly flash on the screen.
What Are Tips When Holding Food Temperatures?
There are two key factors for proper food holding temperature: heat and time. If hot food falls below the safe temperature zone or cold food meets a higher temperature than it should, food-borne bacteria is bound to make a comfy home out of it.
Then, as an inevitable outcome, the food will go bad, and food poison will call for you if you do not realize that in time and shovel the whole dish in your mouth.
Need some tips for keeping food in the proper temper zone? Here you go:
To “treat” cold food, you should:
- Make sure the equipment for this task is functioning well (maintain it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below).
- Do you know bacteria can actually grow on an ice-cold surface? Some sorts of food like fruits, vegetables, and molluscan shellfish allow that to happen, so, never place any of this food directly on ice.
- Cross-contamination is possible among food. So, always cover the food to prevent it from contaminants.
- Your food can still be maintained at its best condition at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below for up to 6 hours since the moment it is removed from refrigeration.
- Never let cold food reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, so please, check the temperature every 2 hours.
For hot food, you should:
- Keep in mind that Hot holding equipment is not for reheating or bringing food to a proper temperature. It can only help maintain the hot food temperatures at 140 degrees and above.
- Covering your food can help conditioning temperatures, and most importantly, keep contaminants out.
- Stir your food frequently if you are able to. It helps distribute the heat evenly.
- Often check the food temperatures with a suitable thermometer.
- By any chance, if you find your food stays colder than 140 degrees for more than 2 hours, it’s time to say buh-bye!
- Never mix freshly prepared food with leftovers to prevent cross-contamination.
Another tip is food thermometers should be cleaned and disinfected properly both before and after use.
Now that we know keeping each type of food in its proper temperature range is important, what is the best way to judge the cooking and holding temperatures of food? The food thermometer is definitely the best way to do that.
I hope this article brought you some useful information. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you next time!