Check out my blog post today at Naked Apartments, a very cool New York real-estate website (almost ready to launch) that a friend of mine started. In addition to helping New Yorkers find their perfect home (and we need all the help we can get) Naked Apartments also has a blog dedicated to New York City apartment life. The other contributors are very cool (check out the authors page and see yours truly!) and we’ll be giving tips to lead the most awesome New York City life possible!
Food Safety: Welcome to the (Temperature) Danger Zone
July 9th, 2009 by Amanda Goldfarb
Here are two classic New York moments involving food:
You come home at 2 AM after a long night out, buy a pizza to share with your friends, only to pass out immediately after. You wake up the next morning, cold pizza leftovers next to you, and it’s looking pretty good. Do you eat it?
You come home from a great dinner with your significant other, doggie bag in tow. Romance overcomes you when you get back to your apartment, and you neglect to store your leftovers in the fridge. You wake up the next morning, realize your error, and debate whether to take the food for lunch that day. Do you pack it?
The solution, my dear Watson, to BOTH of the scenarios is to throw away the food! Why? Because of the Temperature Danger Zone (insert ooohs and aaahs here)
The Temperature Danger Zone, or TDZ, is the temperature at which bacteria multiply the best. The temperatures range from 40 degrees Farenheit to 140 Farenheit. Foods should NOT be kept in the TDZ longer than 4 hours. And that’s being generous—many sources say 2 hours!
New York apartment living means having a kitchen the size of a closet (if you’re lucky). It forces us to cook less and order in more, and judging from the portion sizes served, we usually have leftovers. Careful attention needs to be paid as to how we are storing that food. I’m sorry to say this means no more cold, leftover pizza (though we’ve all had it and it’s damn good). Wrap everything tightly and store in the refrigerator ASAP.
Bacteria and spoilage will occur quickly in food items that have high protein and high moisture. A perfect example is potato salad or tuna salad. I’m sure you can hear your mother right now warning you not to eat any food left out that has mayonnaise. Of course mother is always right, but in this case, not 100% right. What makes the potato /tuna salad quick to spoil are the PROTEIN ingredients—the potatoes and the tuna fish. The mayo has nothing to do with it…in fact, mayo can last a VERY long time (so long that it’s kinda creepy). So be careful with the pastas, meats, tofu, etc.
On the flip side, it’s pretty safe to leave anything with high sugar or salt out, since the sugar competes for the moisture and inhibits bacteria growth. Why do you think so many packaged foods have added sugar? It increases the shelf-life of the product. Score a point for dessert!
What’s the moral of the story? Do unto your food as you would have your food do unto you. So be careful how you handle your food at home, especially in these summer months. Remember that many food-borne illnesses are created at home, not at the restaurant!
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