Growing up, I was often scolded for leaving utensils in food that I then put in the refrigerator. One instance that stands out in my mind is when I left a spoon in a cup of pudding and then put it in the refrigerator. My parents told me that this was bad and would make the food bad, but they never explained why.
It’s a common question asked by many people about the consequences of putting silverware in the fridge with food. The answer may surprise you, as there are a few factors to consider before deciding if silverware can be safely stored in the fridge with food.
In this article, I will discuss the pros and cons of storing silverware in the fridge with food, so you can make an informed decision.
- Was my mom right to scold me for leaving my spoon in the pudding?
- Can you leave silverware in food in the refrigerator?
- What happens if you leave silverware in food in the fridge?
- Is it bad to leave silverware in food in the fridge?
- Why can’t you leave silverware in the fridge?
- Is it bad to leave my spoon in the ice cream in the freezer?
Was my mom right to scold me for leaving my spoon in the pudding?
Now, as an adult, I understand the reasons why leaving utensils in food in the refrigerator can be harmful.
One of the main reasons is cross contamination. If the spoon I had used had been in my mouth, it could transfer bacteria from my mouth to the pudding. This can lead to food-borne illnesses if the bacteria are not properly removed or cooked out before consuming the food.
Related reading: Can You Leave Food In Cookware Overnight?
Can you leave silverware in food in the refrigerator?
Yes, you can leave clean silverware in your food in the fridge because it is unlikely that something bad will happen. However, it is important to ensure that the silverware is clean and that the food is covered or stored in a container to prevent contamination.
You should make sure the utensils are made of non reactive metals like stainless steel or silver because these metals do not react with acid containing low PH food as opposed to utensils containing aluminum or copper.
What happens if you leave silverware in food in the fridge?
Usually, nothing bad happens if you leave a clean spoon or fork in the food you put in the fridge. The key here is CLEAN. Clean means washed and dried right before putting in the food and certainly not used for eating this food.
If the food is acidic (contains vinegar, tomatoes, or citrus fruit) or has a high salt content, it may cause a chemical reaction with the stainless steel or silver cutlery. That can damage the silverware and give a metallic taste to the dish. Modern forks and spoons are made of inert stainless steel and are less likely to react with acidic food.
Is it bad to leave silverware in food in the fridge?
No, it is neither bad nor good to leave silverware in the food. The critical distinction here is silverware being clean. In other words, it is bad to leave a dirty spoon or fork in your food because it will cause bacterial growth.
Why can’t you leave silverware in the fridge?
There is no reason why you can not leave your clean silverware in the fridge. It is safe to put metal in the fridge. A refrigerator is not a microwave where you definitely should not put metal utensils.
However, it may be wise to keep your silverware out of the food.
Here are the reasons why in most situations, leaving silverware in food in the fridge can cause harm.
- Cross-contamination: If the silverware has been in contact with someone’s mouth, it can transfer bacteria from that person’s mouth to the food in the refrigerator. This can lead to food-borne illnesses if the bacteria are not properly removed or cooked out before consuming the food.
- Difficulty in covering food: If the silverware is sticking out of the food, it can be difficult to properly cover or seal the food container, leading to contamination or spoilage because the food is exposed to other products in the fridge.
- Food particles sticking to utensils: Food particles can stick to the silverware, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, which can then transfer to the rest of the food in the container.
- Utensil falling into food: If the silverware falls into the food, it can be difficult to retrieve it without contaminating the food. It also increases the risk of cross-contamination.
Is it bad to leave my spoon in the ice cream in the freezer?
No, leaving your CLEAN and UNUSED spoon the ice cream in the freezer is not bad.
If you have used your spoon to eat your ice cream, it will have bacteria from your mouth and transfer them to the food. The good news is the low temperature in the freezer will slow down the growth of bacteria, and the ice cream is less likely to spoil, but please do me a favor – do not offer me the ice cream with your spoon sticking out.
Related reading: Can You Store Soup In Pot In Fridge?
It is safe to leave clean silverware in food in the refrigerator as long as the food is covered or stored in a container to prevent contamination.
However, it is important to keep in mind that leaving silverware in acidic foods or high salt content food for an extended period of time can cause the silverware to tarnish or discolor.
It’s also important to remember that if the silverware is dirty or has been in contact with someone’s mouth, it can transfer and spread bacteria that can lead to food-borne illnesses. It’s a good idea to wash and wipe your silverware with a soft cloth before putting it in the food. I prefer to use plastic or silicone utensils when storing food in the refrigerator to avoid any potential scratching or damage to the containers.