Collard greens left at room temperature for 4.5 hours. Safe to eat?

OK, I'm an idiot and forgot about a pot of (vegetarian) greens on the stove. I turned them off, covered them and left them for about 4 1/2 hours. I know the oft-quoted guidelines say two hours is the max because bacteria starts growing. But it's a huge pot of greens and I am having trouble bringing myself to throw them out! What are my chances of getting sick?

cathyeats
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10 Comments

Sue June 22, 2021
What if you were at a cookout for hours. I've seen food left out on the table that people ate on all day and not get sick. I left my greens out for about 7 hours with the lid on them in a cold AC house and I'm eating them and they're fine. I also cooked them at a boil for another hour. 4 1/2 hours is nothing. I leave the crock pot going for 8 hours on low sometimes. It depends on the food. I wouldn't leave a salad or eggs or meat out. Cooked vegetables with a sealed lid? Come on now. 😆 People didn't even have refrigerators years ago. I don't think they threw anything away.
 
cathyeats March 25, 2020
I boiled the hell out of them and I’m alive to tell the tale. They were delicious with my vegan hoppin’ john and cornbread!
 
dinner A. March 25, 2020
I would eat them with no qualms. You near-sterilized your food by cooking it, so the chance that any bacteria have grown up to a number that could make you sick is very low. If you're concerned, you could kill off anything that grew by bringing it to boiling temperature again and cooking it for 5 min.
 
Stephanie B. March 24, 2020
They were fully cooked?
 
cathyeats March 24, 2020
Yes, fully cooked. Which is worse, of course.
 
Stephanie B. March 24, 2020
I'd eat them, but I certainly won't advise anyone else to if you're not comfortable with it or serve it to others. That's just me speaking as someone who has an iron stomach 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
Nancy March 24, 2020
Stephanie -
Maybe maybe rusk it in a normal time, but be more wary of adding stress to one's immune system with covid 19 virus running around.
Nancy
 
Nancy March 24, 2020
Maybe risk it....
 
Stephanie B. March 24, 2020
True!
 
Maurine H. March 24, 2020
Oh, this one's tough! I definitely been in a similar boat. I do think it's safest to go with the two-hour rule, though, unfortunately.
 
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