As a dietitian, I’m writing in regard to Ellen Smith’s recent article, “Advice on Healthy Food Shopping, Prep and Planning” (October 21, 2021) which may introduce a potentially unsafe practice of reheating leftover cholent.
Ms. Smith advocates repurposing frozen leftover cholent in a crock pot, adding an onion and a cup of water on Friday for use on Shabbos. This promotes a very unsafe practice. The food can potentially be at an unsafe temperature for too long a period of time, providing a perfect medium for bacteria to grow and ultimately can result in foodborne illness, which is at best uncomfortable, and at worst, can be fatal.
Frozen food should never be added to a crock pot. I know there are people reading this who are thinking, “Wait, I do this all the time and nobody ever got sick.” If that’s the case, you’ve been lucky till now. Please know that this is not best practice. Frozen food, whether raw or cooked, should be defrosted safely first and then added to your crock pot.
I know people don’t like waste, and there are a lot of people that just love leftover cholent. If you can’t bear the thought of tossing leftover cholent in the garbage, please reheat it in a safe manner.
Here is a link to more information. https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/4-steps-to-food-safety