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Is it safe and acceptable to store hot dishes for Thanksgiving in the oven overnight to save on room in the fridge?

Space is always an issue at Thanksgiving. I plan on making three side dishes (stuffing and potatoes) the day before. Is it okay to keep them in the oven overnight after I'm finished cooking for the day?

asked by gwen over 3 years ago
6 answers 906 views
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Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 3 years ago

You should definitely not do this with anything containing meat, dairy or eggs -- those dishes all need to be refrigerated soon after they're cooked and then reheated thoroughly before serving.

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added over 3 years ago

I'd be very careful with ANY cooked food. Bacteria (the nasty kind you really don't want to inflict on your guests or dear Aunt Mary) grow more easily if food cools slowly. Most food handling guidelines say to refrigerate cooked food within 2 hours. You might consider using a cooler with ice to store the dishes that have been quickly chilled in the fridge. If you live where it's cold, let nature do some of the work for you too. I've also borrowed fridge space from neighbors.

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added over 3 years ago

During very cold years I have used my car as an extra refrigerator for Thanksgiving.

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Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

I've used the car too, or the garage (it's unheated) when the overnight temperature was going to be 40 or below. You can also fill up a cooler with ice, or a bathtub - but you're going to need a lot of bags of ice to generate the chill you need in a tub. On the up side, you can also use any extra space in the tub to keep cans and bottles cold.

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Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

One of the few reasons I look forward to winter is that I can use my garage as a gigantic walk-out cold storage unit.

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added over 3 years ago

I'd like to correct my response to this question. It's not always the bacteria that cause us gastric upset if we cook/store food incorrectly -- it's often the toxins produced by the bacteria and they can't be eliminated by re-heating, boiling, roasting, etc. Oregon has an online food-handlers class that really helped me "get" this (that and making myself sick -- just once). Here's a link to the manual: http://public.health.oregon...

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