Food Storage Problems

The party’s over. The company was good, the food was tasty and plentiful, and our three meals ran smoothly. We enjoyed celebrating with my son. The only problem I had was with unexpected food spoilage.

It started last Thursday, when I did the majority of the cooking. It was an unusually hot day, and the cooked fish balls didn’t seem to be getting cold in the refrigerator. So I left the bulgur wheat on the stove to cool longer than I would have liked.

I noticed that the bulgur did not smell right on Saturday morning when I intended to serve it, even though guests who tasted it thought it was fine. And the fish was delicious Friday night, but started to turn by Saturday afternoon. Even the leftover potatoes were spoiled by Sunday evening, despite having been in my neighbor’s refrigerator Thursday through Friday night (unless she forgot to put them in, since they had needed to cool more first). The other food was fine and lasted as long as expected, including the meatloaf, chicken, and stringbeans.

I’m still trying to sort out what went wrong.

Factors that may have led to the spoilage:

  • Storing in large containers instead of small ones that would allow cold air to reach the center of the food more quickly.
  • Not cooling food enough before refrigerating. My neighbor puts food under the air-conditioning vent to cool food quickly, but I don’t like to use it while cooking. In the end I turned it on. I’m not sure how much it would have helped.
  • Kids home on vacation opening the refrigerator frequently.
  • Bad luck with the weather, even though I should have been prepared.
  • Refrigerator problems? Mine is large and relatively new, so it should have a lot of power.  But maybe a vent is clogged somewhere, blocking part of the cool air and slowing down the cooling time. The freezer worked fine during this period.
  • Working with larger quantities than I am used to.
  • Overloading the refrigerator. This happened both on Thursday when I cooked, and again after the Friday night meal. On Friday and Saturday we used the synagogue’s refrigerator, but I was advised not to put food there earlier. Next time I’ll do it anyway.

This is the first time I’ve done such a big cooking session, so it’s not surprising I had problems. Although are frustrating, cooking mistakes are part of the learning process. If you don’t try, you’ll never know if you can do it.

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  1. Do you leave your refrigerator on the coldest setting? I don’t usually turn it up, but it makes sense if you’re really loading it up. I hesitate to do so otherwise because I get frozen spots.

  2. Tesyaa, 7 is the coldest and it had been at 6.