Help! I accidentally left my soup out on the counter last night. It was cooling in a La Crueset Dutch Oven. It was a sausage, potato, kale soup. Can it be saved?
Well....I've been doing same for at least 30 years. Stock, soups, casseroles. Still here. The food safety fanatics would say no but I think you're likely OK. It defies common sense to place a 200+ degree cauldron of food into a refrigerator full of other more delicate and perishable food. Taste some now just to prove to yourself that it won't poison your friends an family later.
Harmful toxins from bacteria are not visible nor do they have a flavor. Because of the sausage, I wouldn't chance it and I don't consider myself a "food safety fanatic".
I meant to say especially because of the sausage. Bacteria can thrive in vegetable soups as well.
I know that botulism is not killed by heat but it only grows in an anaerobic environment. I was taught that other bacterias such as e coli and salmonella would be killed by bringing the product to a boil and keeping it at that temperature for 10 minutes. Is that no longer considered a safe practice?
Botulism does grow in soups and stocks. I admit, I have left a stock out and recoiled it the next morning and carried on. However, I would personally draw the line at soup that contains sausage. There are many other bacteria strains and their toxins and spores multiplying happily. I just wouldn't take the chance and I eat raw eggs in mayo and keep my farm fresh eggs on my counter, so I'm not a total rule follower. Here's a good article by Harold McGee.
This is what my mother always did throughout my childhood. She grew up in third world country and basically, there was very little refrigeration if any. So with all soups with and without meat, she would boil (a full boil) for a few minutes to kill the bacteria.
I live by the rule, "When in doubt, THROW IT OUT". Apologies to those who might disagree but better to be safe than sick.
It seems to me it just comes down to risk tolerance. Even if one person has left sausage soup out overnight every day of their lives and never gotten sick, it really has no bearing on whether or not another person will get sick if they leave it out for one (unlucky) day out of their lives. There is some degree of risk any way you slice it. For me personally, considering the sausage-factor I would toss it.
Thank you for all of your informative responses, KitchenKim has decided not to take any risks and will throw the soup away!!!