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Old 11-02-2011, 14:42   #1
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Pressure Cooker Danger

I can't find it again but someone posted a tip about "preserving" food in a pressure cooker. This isn't about canning. It's about saving leftovers for the next day and even repeating the process two or three times after that. This idea started in the 1930's and is often presented as a "household hint" . However, it can be a real danger unless your pressure cooker forms a vacuum as it cools. Every one I've ever owned does not. The idea is to close the lid on the leftovers, bring the cooker up to pressure, turn it off, and leave it alone on the assumption that a vacuum is left in the cooker. In modern cookers, air re-enters as the cooker cools. There is no vacuum and, even if there were one, anerobic critters could be proliferating. In cool weather I have bent the rules by keeping food overnight, and certainly the reheating process helps reduce bacteria, but preserved, it ain't.
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Old 11-02-2011, 15:12   #2
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Ooops......
didn't post the post, but I've been guilty of this often.


Offshore a pot of soup/stew in the pressure cooker may be on the go for 2, maybe 3 days, topped up with more of whatever is available then cooked for a while. Though day 3 the spice mix sometimes gets so wierd that it's time to start again

Is it really that dangerous? If you cook it for a good 20 minutes on full pressure?
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Old 11-02-2011, 17:26   #3
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Is it really that dangerous? If you cook it for a good 20 minutes on full pressure?
Yes, it really is that dangerous. The additional pressure cooking will kill the bacteria but the issue is with the organisms which could have been growing and producing heat stable toxins or heat resistant spores.

With sufficient additional pressure cooking it's likely any protien toxins would denature and heat resistant spores would be killed, but a simple re-heat could produce a warm toxic stew.
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Old 11-02-2011, 19:10   #4
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Goddamn, I must be dead. We regularly kept food in the pressure cooker for 2 days and may have even done it for 3 days with reheating each time we ate. Since it's SO dangerous, it must have killed us and we ascended to heaven and been living there ever since. BTW, this was mostly in the tropics. There is no problem, that we found, with keeping cooked food in the pressure cooker for 24 hours with reheating before eating.
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Old 11-02-2011, 20:04   #5
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im guessing they are talking about not refrigerating the leftovers, and jsut leaving it under vacuum...???

i would guess you could release the pressure, open the pot, place some plastic wrap or other tin foil or wax paper.. then put the lid back on? there should be enough heat in the food to cool even further and create teh caccum..
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Old 11-02-2011, 20:48   #6
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When in doubt, throw it out!

Here's a good page with food poisoning information. I have, of course, broken every rule on food storage and yet I still live.

So what would be a frugal option if your pressure cooker doesn't maintain a vacuum? How about some canning jars? Put the lids on loosely, fire up the pressure cooker for the allotted time, then let it sit until your next meal?

Maybe people without refrigeration should cook smaller meals?
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Old 11-02-2011, 21:04   #7
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Goddamn, I must be dead. We regularly kept food in the pressure cooker for 2 days and may have even done it for 3 days with reheating each time we ate. Since it's SO dangerous, it must have killed us and we ascended to heaven and been living there ever since. BTW, this was mostly in the tropics. There is no problem, that we found, with keeping cooked food in the pressure cooker for 24 hours with reheating before eating.
This is never good logic. Dogs eat chicken bones all the time. Does that make them safe?

As someone who has seen dogs die from chicken bones and family members near death from botulism (that took some detective work on the part of the doctors), I'd say you might want to not go down that road.

In this corner of the world, many MANY people have lost family member because what didn't kill them one day (not necessarily food) was considered safe enough for the next day as well.

And starting off with the expletive does not depict you very well.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:59   #8
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Keep cold foods cold (< 40 deg F), and hot foods hot (> 140 deg. F).
The "danger zone" lies between 40 degrees and 140 degrees F.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:52   #9
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Smaller meals are an option. As Gord says, minimize the time food is kept between the prime growing temps of 40F to 140F.

Of course, accepting the risk (or being ignorant of the risk) also works for some. I put it in the same category of anchoring on a lee shore and counting on my anchor not to drag and put me on the rocks. I might get away with it for years and therefore assume it's not dangerous, but I know better and prefer not to take the chance most of the time since the consequences can run between mild and death.

Your mileage (and luck) may vary.
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Old 13-02-2011, 09:15   #10
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Well and wisely said! Taking risk yourself and recommending the technique to others are two different things. I may push the envelope in port, not three days from landfall. Depends too on what's in the pot and who will be consuming it. Different folks have different sensitivities and tolerances.


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Smaller meals are an option. As Gord says, minimize the time food is kept between the prime growing temps of 40F to 140F.

Of course, accepting the risk (or being ignorant of the risk) also works for some. I put it in the same category of anchoring on a lee shore and counting on my anchor not to drag and put me on the rocks. I might get away with it for years and therefore assume it's not dangerous, but I know better and prefer not to take the chance most of the time since the consequences can run between mild and death.

Your mileage (and luck) may vary.
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Old 13-02-2011, 09:48   #11
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it must have killed us and we ascended to heaven and been living there ever since.
Are the boats better up there?
Do they ever break down?
Rum can't be cheaper than the Caribbean. Is it?


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