Refrigerating dishes and their leftovers directly would be both a question of family tradition and cultural tradition. Indeed, in North America, “touski” are quickly put in the fridge. In Europe, tradition has it that you wait a while before refrigerating your food, probably because electricity is much more expensive there.
Is it better to wait or put them on immediately?
Your refrigerator is programmed to maintain an average temperature of 4 to 5 degrees Celsius. If you put very hot food in it, you risk raising the overall temperature. Foods that are already refrigerated will therefore experience a sudden increase in temperature, which will reduce their storage time.
Also, condensation can form in a closed dish when hot steam from cooked food condenses on the lid. This condensate then drains into your food, posing a risk of food contamination. While older and entry-level refrigerators don’t offer humidity control, several newer – and often a little more expensive – models come with this useful feature.
However, the amount of bacteria in your food and meals doubles about every 20 minutes at room temperature. A dish that has therefore been left on the kitchen counter can become downright unfit for consumption and cause food poisoning. This is particularly the case with animal proteins, such as poultry, which can germinate a host of harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
The rule of thumb for not compromising your food is to take the room temperature and standing time into account! Ideally, dishes left at room temperature should never be left there for more than two hours. And if it’s over 32 degrees Celsius in your kitchen, make sure you don’t leave your food there for more than an hour!
Letting your “touskis” rest at room temperature is therefore a habit to take… while doing the dishes and preparing the dessert! If you have a cold room, it may be a good idea to cool your food there.