Be sure that the containers you use for cooling and
storing foods are properly cleaned and sanitized.
To cool liquids such as
stocks, soups and sauces -
Transfer to a clean
container such as a stainless steel bain-marie or other container that
conducts heat readily. Metals are most effective at dispersing heat,
glass is next best, and plastic is least appropriate for cooling.
Place the container in a
cold water bath. It may be difficult to find enough space to cool things
properly, but even so, it must be done. An overflow pipe is ideal,
allowing a constant stream of cold water to run into the sink. Or, add
more ice and/or drain out the water as it warms and replace it with cold
Remember to stir the
liquid as it cools. This prevents anaerobic bacteria from gaining a
foothold, and speeds the overall cooling process by equalizing the
Once the entire batch has
been cooled to a temperature of 40oF (4oC), it may
be covered and labeled with the name of the contents and the date.
Should you prefer, the liquid can be transferred to plastic containers
for storage purposes.
The larger the quantity of
liquid, the more time it will take to cool completely. If you can, try to
split large batches into two or more smaller batches.
To cool very small batches
of items such as custard sauce, lemon curd, or leftover stew, place the
container in a large bowl or tub filled with equal quantities of ice and
cold water. Remember to stir the contents of the container as it cools.
Stabilize the container, so that water does not splash inside and so the
container will not tip over.
The greater the amount of
surface exposed to the cold water bath (through the medium of a bain-marie
or other container), the more quickly the liquid will cool.
To cool semi-solid or solid
foods, a different approach may be required. For example, a stuffing
mixture added to a chicken or used to fill a pork chop should be well
chilled before it is introduced to the bird or chop. Sautéed onions,
carrots, celery, and peppers should be removed from the pan, spread in a
thin layer on a clean baking sheet and placed in a refrigerator to cool
quickly before combining the stuffing with other ingredients.
This same principle is used
to cool cooked pasta, rice, or other items that cannot easily be stirred
as they cool, or would be damaged by being piled up in a large pot or
Large cuts of meat or other
solid foods should be cut into slices or chunks, whenever possible. The
idea is to reduce the diameter of the food, enabling it to cool within a
safe time period (less than two hours). Place the sliced or chunked food
into clean containers, and cool, uncovered, until the item is thoroughly
chilled. Then cover, label and date properly.