Old stew, new boiling
January 2, 2010 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I've got a stew that might be just a little bit too old, maybe four or five days old. It doesn't smell funny or anything. If I add some water and put it back on the stove to get it to a rolling boil, should it be back to good?
posted by 5ean to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
So it's been refrigerated, right? Then you're good to go. I wouldn't go for too much of a rolling boil though, as it's liable to turn into mush.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:49 AM on January 2, 2010

Best answer: If it's been refrigerated the whole time, and didn't stand around uncovered when warm, I would reheat and eat.


The smell test is not reliable. Some bugs don't make smell. Reheating is not reliable. Some bugs make poisons that can make you sick even if they are all killed by heat.

So this is based purely on it having been chilled all this time and you having been careful, not on the smell etc. Don't give it to any pregnant women, ok?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:54 AM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tell us more about its five day history. Did it go into the refrigerator while it was still hot? Did it stay in the refrigerator for the full five days? There are a lot of factors involved here. Any protein that is allowed to spend a significant amount of time between the temperatures of 40F and 140F can go bad with very bad results for you the eater. Next, there are botulism issues as well. Bringing the food back to a boil for long enough to turn it into the mush Otherworldlyglow speaks of will almost likely cure the bacterial issues, but may not solve the other issues.

If you are worried about it, I would be too.
posted by Old Geezer at 10:55 AM on January 2, 2010

I've never had trouble with my 6-7 day rule of thumb, but it gives some people the willies. Then again, my mother in law will keep meat in the fridge for twice as long without batting an eye. There is no bright line, only "as fresh as possible." I can't tell you what your comfort level should be, only what mine is. But anecdotal evidence is ... you know the drill.
posted by rikschell at 11:16 AM on January 2, 2010

I wouldn't eat it.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 11:32 AM on January 2, 2010

Four or five days old, refrigerated? Absolutely fine.
posted by desuetude at 11:49 AM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've made big batches of stew that end up living in the fridge for a week or so, while I eat away at it. I would eat your stew, assuming it's been refrigerated.
posted by rtha at 11:50 AM on January 2, 2010

Best answer: Question really is, how good did it taste and what's the worst that could happen?

Last time I went to an emergency room, the bill was over ten K.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:54 AM on January 2, 2010

Best answer: (oh, and that 10 k got me an intravenous drip (painkillers and water) and one 175 dollar MRI. In and out in under two hours, most of them with me being ignored.)
posted by IndigoJones at 11:57 AM on January 2, 2010

Do you mean 4-5 days longer than you think wise, or 4-5 days total? Because I regularly eat stews 5-6 days later. I didn't even think this was unusually adventuresome.
posted by palliser at 12:33 PM on January 2, 2010

Four days? Come on, it's fine. It's stew time, baby!

Heck, raw chicken's fine to cook after it's been in a fridge four days.
posted by carlh at 12:53 PM on January 2, 2010

4-5 days in the fridge should be fine, particularly if you plan on bringing it to a boil first.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:21 PM on January 2, 2010

Six days is about the limit for me for leftovers, but we take it to that limit routinely and have never had an issue.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:00 PM on January 2, 2010

As long as it's been refrigerated, I would reheat it and eat it.
posted by ob at 3:05 PM on January 2, 2010

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