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Can I eat palak panner if left out for hours?
January 27, 2009 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I left my lunch (palak paneer with rice) at home. I want to eat it after I get off work. Good idea or bad idea?

There is some absolutely delicious palak paneer that I had been saving for today because I didn't finish it at the restaurant last night. When I got home from the restaurant I put it in the refrigerator with the intention of taking it to work this morning. I took it out of the refrigerator this morning and left it in the vicinity of the front door, but I forgot about it.

So the question is, can I eat it when I get home?

The facts:
Was fresh yesterday at 6pm. Put in refrigerator at 7:30pm.
Was taken out of refrigerator today at 8:30am.
I hope to be home today before 6pm.
The thermostat at home is set for 60, though I left it in the coolest area of the house and away from heat vents.
There is way more palak than paneer - though there are chunks of paneer, the rest is green.
I have no problem not reheating it.
I have no problem tossing the cheese if it means I can eat the rest. :)
posted by Jenesta to Food & Drink (15 answers total)
 
Make sure it passes the sniff test, heat thoroughly, and enjoy. Also, a lot of the spices used in Indian cooking have antimicrobial properties, which may help slow growth of any nasties. Not that I'd trust that with meat dishes. Or anything that failed the sniff test.

(And seriously, is everyone's nose broken? The sniff test is almost always going to tell you what you need to know!)
posted by amelioration at 9:24 AM on January 27, 2009


Nobody on here can give you a definitive answer.

You were blessed with senses such as touch, taste, sight and smell for a reason. Utilising one or all four of these you should be able to come to a decision when confronted with the dubious palak paneer!

Good luck and god speed!
posted by fire&wings at 9:25 AM on January 27, 2009


Eat it already.
posted by dawson at 9:27 AM on January 27, 2009


Even though I usually preach caution in these cases, most of the time I'd just sniff it and go from there. If you don't pull away in disgust after smelling it, enjoy.
posted by cooker girl at 9:28 AM on January 27, 2009


"Keep cooked fruits and vegetables at room temperature for no longer than two hours." Many other sources appear to agree.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:30 AM on January 27, 2009


Is it in a tupperware-like container? If it is, and if the top isn't puffed up (those are bacteria farts) and there isn't much condensation on the lid, I'd probably eat it.
Cheese isn't the problem, it's that you had something wet at room temperature.
posted by rmless at 9:40 AM on January 27, 2009


Everytime I think about a similar scenario i say to myself....God knows how people did it before the refrigerator was invented.....since we dont have reports of massive casualties out of people eating food past its expiration date I assume it is ok if once in a blue moon I take a "risk".
posted by The1andonly at 9:45 AM on January 27, 2009


I'd eat it.
posted by ob at 9:50 AM on January 27, 2009


First: Eat it. I've done the same. No biggie.


Second: You were blessed with senses such as touch, taste, sight and smell for a reason. Utilising one or all four of these you should be able to come to a decision when confronted with the dubious palak paneer!

fire&wings, given that some pathogenic bacteria such as botulus impart no special touch, taste, appearance, nor smell, until they are well past the no-return point of toxicity... that advice is foolhardy.

Fortunately, ample heating (a few minutes at 160-deg F) both kills botulus and destroys the toxin.


Third: "Keep cooked fruits and vegetables at room temperature for no longer than two hours." Many other sources appear to agree.
DevilsAdvocate, if you follow those sources rigorously, you'll need to wear gloves just to get out of bed in the morning. <>

Eat it.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:21 AM on January 27, 2009


I am normally of the "eat it" camp but I would toss the rice part of it and eat the rest. Cereus bacillus is not detectable by sight or smell.
posted by phoenixy at 10:24 AM on January 27, 2009


Eat it!
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 10:25 AM on January 27, 2009


DevilsAdvocate, if you follow those sources rigorously, you'll need to wear gloves just to get out of bed in the morning.

I was citing advice from people and organizations who appear to have some expertise in food safety. Although I have, in past "should I eat this" questions, mentioned whether I would eat the food in question or not ("yes" more often than not, even when the majority opinion was "no"), I have recently come to the conclusion that whether I would eat it or not is irrelevant, on the grounds that different people have widely differing tolerances both for food-borne toxins and pathogens, and for acceptable risk levels—particularly if the questioner had not given any indication of his or her tolerance for either of these. After all, the question at hand is "should Jenesta eat this," not "should DevilsAdvocate eat this."

I further observed that actual food safety recommendations from experts were rarely cited in such threads, despite the fact that such information is found relatively easily online, and I could provide a useful service by finding and linking to such advice. If there are other experts who think that recommendation is overly conservative, it would certainly be appropriate to cite them here.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:57 AM on January 27, 2009


If you don't want it I'll eat it.
posted by Bango Skank at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2009


The palak paneer? Absolutely.

The rice? No effing way (and I have a healthy attitude towards eating all sorts of things other people discard). Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus. When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. If the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will germinate. As someone who has had food poisoning from leftover rice from an Indian restaurant... it ain't pleasant.
posted by methylsalicylate at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2009


Thanks everybody! I know there is no definitive answer to this other than trying it out, but I wanted the different views and opinions I knew I'd get. :)

I will most likely go home and nuke it unless it has changed color, changed smell, changed consistency, or is suddenly moving of its own volition. I did see the 2 hour rule for cooked vegetables online, but I'm hoping that the fact it had been refrigerated before being left out would help me get around that.

Thanks for the heads up about the rice. I re-nuke rice all the time, so I think I'll stop doing that.
posted by Jenesta at 11:42 AM on January 27, 2009


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