The Cold, Hard Facts About Restaurants' Refrigerated Food Temps: 10 Things You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered why we refrigerate our food?
If you plan on opening a restaurant, then you should have some basic knowledge of how to run one. For example, you should at least have all the essential equipment that a restaurant should have.
One of these basic necessities is the refrigerator, but have you ever wondered why it’s essential?
Well, that’s because it’s important to control food temps when you’re in the kitchen. This is because temperature affects the food in a myriad of ways.
From affecting its consistency to developing different kinds of bacteria, restaurant refrigeration helps prevent any of the unwanted effects of temperature.
Why not continue reading to learn more about how temperature affects your food? Below, we’ll tell you 10 interesting facts about the food you refrigerate. Read on and learn why and how you should handle the food you want to cook and serve.
1. Keeping Food Out of the Danger Zone
Refrigeration is important because it prevents food from reaching the danger zone. The danger zone is the temperatures where bacteria thrive the most. These are the temperatures between 40 and 140-degrees Fahrenheit.
These dangerous temps give bacteria the ideal conditions to grow and multiply their numbers. In fact, bacteria within the danger zone can double their numbers in as little as 20 minutes in these conditions. So, you should make an effort to keep the temperature below or higher than that.
2. Bacteria Stop Growing at a Certain Low Temperature
Do you know why it’s important to keep food cold even when moving it? This is because there is a certain temperature where bacteria stop all their activities. That ideal temperature is any temperature below 5 degrees Celsius (39.2 degrees Fahrenheit and below).
In these temperatures, bacteria don’t feed off of anything. This means that they can’t generate enough energy to multiply. So, you should make this a standard whenever you ship or receive perishable items.
This is among the simple ways to inspect food to improve food safety. This is essential for you if you want your restaurant to succeed and thrive.
3. Bacteria Don’t Die in the Cold
Few people know this, but bacteria never die when you refrigerate them. They don’t die in extreme cold, in fact. The only way you can be certain that you get rid of them is to subject them to high temperatures, which is why it’s mandatory to cook our food with the exception of a few special cases.
The truth is that bacteria only enter a dormant stage when food becomes cold. This is a sort of hibernation stage where they wait out the cold. Once temperatures rise and become favorable, they start becoming active again.
4. Certain Bacteria Still Thrive in Cold Conditions
Despite being in the cold, some bacteria can still propagate. An example of such bacteria is Salmonella. They can still cross-contaminate other food items in the fridge even if it’s cold there.
You can wash away bacteria like Salmonella with ease. You should also consider putting items at risk of Salmonella in separate containers before refrigerating them. Failure to do these safety procedures is what led to a previous recall of beef, over 12 million pounds of them.
5. Keeping Food Refrigerated Doesn't Mean They Won’t Spoil
There is still a chance that your food will spoil even if they’re kept at a safe temperature. While it’s true most bacteria doesn’t spread in the cold, there are still some left on your food. While it may be slow, it can still spoil your food if left too long.
This is because the bacteria can still cause the food to decompose albeit slower than usual. The decomposition process releases gasses and new bacteria. These will be what causes your food to go bad in the fridge.
6. You Can Only Refrigerate and Reheat Food A Certain Number of Times Before it Spoils
Most people think that they can keep food from spoiling as long as they refrigerate it. This is true for only the first few times they take it out to reheat it. After they reheat food for 3 times, it starts to spoil even when in the refrigerator.
This is because reheating food means that the bacteria starts to thrive once again as mentioned above. Doing so causes this because refrigerating and reheating causes moisture to become trapped inside the food. The moisture speeds up the decomposition by remaining hotter than its cold surroundings.
7. Resting Time is Essential Before Refrigeration
People often refrigerate their food right after they cooked it. This is a mistake because most foods need to rest before refrigeration. The resting period is the time they’re left out to cool before doing anything with them.
If you’re leaving them out to cool, why not cool them in the fridge already then?
The reason for that is because this will result in an uneven cooling process. With their insides still being piping hot, only the outside will freeze. This leads to many complications along the line.
For example, it can spoil the food from the inside. It can also cause reheating it to become difficult without overcooking the inside.
8. Dry Foods are Easier to Handle
Dried goods have a longer shelf life than most food. They’re also easier to refrigerate than every other kind of food. Unlike cooked/wet ingredients, dried food doesn’t need much special care.
Their safe zones are more forgiving than most foods (50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit). They also don’t swell as canned goods do.
9. Some Foods Require Special Refrigeration Procedures
Pork, poultry, beef, lamb, and every other land animal meat all follow the same procedure. Keep below 39 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent spoilage. Other foods follow a different procedure though.
For example, to refrigerate fish, you should lay them on a bed of ice. This prevents them from freezing, keeping them as fresh as possible before cooking. Vegetables and fruits also need a somewhat warmer temperature.
Freezing them will render them inedible for the most part. Frozen fruits are impossible to reheat without cooking them or spoiling them. So, you’re going to want to keep them in separate temperatures from meats.
10. Wrapping Food is Essential Before Refrigerating
Keeping your food out of the danger zone is a great way to keep them fresh. Another thing you can do to ensure freshness is to wrap them up.
It’s easy for food to contaminate other food if they’re both 39 degrees Fahrenheit and below. This is also why you should always wipe equipment with a clean towel before using it to handle them.
This is the case because bacteria are often attracted to colder temperatures. So, cross-contamination becomes a big threat when handling refrigerated goods.
Learn About the Restaurant Industry’s Food Temps Today
Managing food temps is essential to ensure a restaurant’s success. Read up on the 10 interesting facts above to expand your knowledge. This will also help you avoid all the common mistakes most restaurants make.
Master your food’s temperature today!
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