The high summer temperatures, in addition to being oppressive, contribute to the proliferation of food poisoning, especially if we do not properly preserve our food. The Spanish Food Safety Agency (Aesan) establishes that "the summer months are a particularly critical time, because high temperatures favor the development of microorganisms in food that can make us sick."
One of the most common practices in homes is to cook in large quantities in order to have food left over for several days of the week, which is usually known as 'Batch Cooking'. Whether it is to save time, or because there was food left over from a meeting, doubts arise about what is the best way to preserve these foods that are already prepared.
How should we handle the leftovers so that they keep well? One of the most common practices is to let them cool completely to room temperature before putting them in the fridge. But with the heat of these months, this practice can be negative, since it contributes to the proliferation of microorganisms that make us sick, such as anisakis or salmonella. Regarding this, Aesan recommends always storing them below 5ºC and serving them at more than 60ºC, temperatures at which the growth of bacteria is reduced. This is why we should always keep the temperature in the fridge below 4ºC.
The room temperature of these months is not then the most suitable to leave the leftovers of food in the air. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) also recommends covering food leftovers to avoid attracting insects that carry possible bacteria or diseases.
Contrary to what is traditionally thought, there is nothing wrong with putting hot food directly into the fridge. But there are a couple of guidelines to follow so that it remains in the best conditions if we want to keep it.
It is recommended to wait for foods such as legumes or stews to stop boiling before transferring them to smaller airtight containers, as this will cause them to cool more quickly. Also, the tuppers can be left on a bed of ice water for a few minutes to help the cooling process and then put in the fridge. In this way we will ensure that food is not exposed for a long time at room temperature and we will avoid possible poisoning.