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Author Topic: Leaving Spoon in the Fridge is Bad?
callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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So this afternoon mrs. callee made some dessert salad and, nicely, brought me a bowl with a spoon already stuck jauntily in the side. I thanked her, but since I wasn't hungry I just put saranwrap over it - spoon and all - and deposited it in the fridge for later. Some time after mrs. callee informed me that, according to her mother, this was a terrible thing to do because the chemicals in the food - the acids in the sour cream or citrus fruits or something - will react with the stainless steel of the spoon and cause chemical contamination. I checked the mainsite and found nothing, and before I started googling I thought I'd let you all join in.

So?

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I've only heard this with regard to cutlery in the freezer. Too many bent spoons as a result of not being patient enough to let the ice cream thaw a bit.

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Rhiandmoi
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I think stainless steel is non-reactive. But if your spoon is aluminum it will make your food taste funny if it hangs out in there. I don't think you will die or get sick, even if you did it every day, but your food would have a wierd metallic taste.

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ILS
Deck the Malls


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To expand on Rhiandmoi. It would depend on the material of the spoon/cultery. But if the material was something that could react with acid, long exposure to the acid would cause a reaction. Good logic huh!

Anyway. The most common modern material of stainless steel is not one of the reactive materials one may worry about.

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Squishy0405
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If you don't know what your spoon is made of (except plastic ones)wouldn't it be safer to say don't do it? My hubby does it sometimes and I take the spoon out. Kind of like the "don't leave food in a can" theory...

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csel's in 2nd Grade
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I know that some recipes specify using anything EXCEPT a metal bowl, and those that I have seen are acidic, in some way, because it can affect the taste of the recipe. I don't think it is dangerous, though. I've seen spoons of all sorts left in things at buffets, picnics, whatnot, and never heard of any problem.

Squishy, I came home late one night, DH had fed himself dinner. The next day, I found a can of kidney beans, half empty, in the fridge, uncovered. He didn't understand why that was not ok. [Roll Eyes]

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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The only reaction I know of that might possibly be dangerous is with aluminum. If you have an aluminum utensil or container and acidic food, like tomatoes, aluminum can leach into your food and high amounts of dietary aluminum are toxic.

The same reaction can happen with an iron skillet but of course iron is an essential mineral, not a toxic one.

Copper is also reactive.

Stainless steel is not.

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tribrats
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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The only reaction I have ever had is "Who left the spoon in the bowl in the fridge again?!?! I just knocked it all over the NHBSKing floor again!" from Hubby. But since the kids are now older, it doesn't happen quite so often.

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erwins
Deck the Malls


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It doesn't sound like a stainless spoon in the fridge would be a hazzard at all, but according to this journal article, stainless cookware is reactive to acidic foods at cooking temperatures.

From the article:
quote:
Stainless steel, which is widely used in cooking utensils, is readily attacked by organic acids at cooking temperatures. When this occurs, iron, chromium, and nickel may be released from the steel utensil into the food. In the cases of iron and chromium, this is desirable; both of these elements are essential nutrients, and both are likely to be in short supply in the diet. In contrast, the addition of nickel to food is undesirable. Nickel is suspected of causing many types of toxicity, and allergic reactions to this metal are widespread.

To determine whether these metals are actually released from stainless steel cookware during food preparation, researchers from the Pennsylvania State University at Erie exposed seven stainless steel utensils to mildly acidic conditions at boiling temperature. The liquids in the utensils were then assayed for iron, chromium, and nickel by atomic absorption spectroscopy.

Nickel was found to be a major corrosion product from the stainless steel utensils; iron and chromium were also detected. The amount of nickel added to food in this way could be significant; a person consuming 1 kg of acidic food cooked in stainless steel pots would receive as much as 0.1 mg of nickel from this source. This is between one-third and two-thirds of the average daily intake of nickel from food.

erwins
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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by csel's cshells:

Squishy, I came home late one night, DH had fed himself dinner. The next day, I found a can of kidney beans, half empty, in the fridge, uncovered. He didn't understand why that was not ok. [Roll Eyes]

Er...why is it not ok? There's almost always a half used tin of something in our fridge.

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Lonely Mountain
Jingle All the Layaway


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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
quote:
Originally posted by csel's cshells:

Squishy, I came home late one night, DH had fed himself dinner. The next day, I found a can of kidney beans, half empty, in the fridge, uncovered. He didn't understand why that was not ok. [Roll Eyes]

Er...why is it not ok? There's almost always a half used tin of something in our fridge.
Because it makes your whole fridge smell like the left-open food and other food in the fridge will also pick up the smell and taste, and there are some things that just don't taste well together. Someone did this to my freezer once and my ice cubes tasted like fish.

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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Whatever else is true about various metals, the first thing that came to my mind is that someone might have been told this at one time so that they wouldn't leave a dirty utensil in there. ("Why clean it? I'll just use it again when I eat the leftovers.")

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Lonely Mountain
Jingle All the Layaway


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quote:
Originally posted by erwins:
... a person consuming 1 kg of acidic food cooked in stainless steel pots would receive as much as 0.1 mg of nickel from this source. This is between one-third and two-thirds of the average daily intake of nickel from food.

Who in the world eats 1 kg of food? That's 2.2 pounds! And what in the world is the average daily intake of nickel? I checked and the RDA for nickel is 0.5 mg - 1 mg. This means that, assuming this report is true and you had no other sources of nickel, you would have to eat 11 pounds of acidic food just to meet the minimum RDA. I think you would die of heartburn first.

I hate when reports make things sound like a major health issue. The only people I see affeted by this would be people allergic to nickel and I'm assuming that they already take measures to limit their exposure.

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Jocko's Jolly
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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
quote:
Originally posted by csel's cshells:

Squishy, I came home late one night, DH had fed himself dinner. The next day, I found a can of kidney beans, half empty, in the fridge, uncovered. He didn't understand why that was not ok. [Roll Eyes]

Er...why is it not ok? There's almost always a half used tin of something in our fridge.
I think it was the uncovered part that was the problem -- stinks up the whole fridge. Plus, certain foods can take on odors from other things.

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I had a roomie who would eat the whole of something (i.e. a thing of icecream or a box of cereal) and REPLACE the empty container. Grrrr.... Sorry. Had to rant.

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dfresh
Deck the Malls


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Ryda, my brother would leave ONE spoonful in the container, so therefore he couldn't get grief for eating the WHOLE container of ice cream. He only ate 96% of it.
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DaGuyWitBluGlasses
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Why do we use Silverware at important meals?

Because silverware doesn't taste, Stainless Steel on the other hand does have a taste.

The taste is from molecules coming apart from the spoon.

Just because something doesn't chemically react, doesn't mean the object is completely stable, some things just slowly fall apart. (Chemically stable does not mean physically stable)

How long before there's enough steel molecules in the stuff before it's something to worry about, i don't know, but eventually it might be something to worry about…

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LemonLimeade
Deck the Malls


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I can't say about the spoon (and others have answered that anyway) but I can say this for sure. If you've already taken a bite with the spoon and put it back in for a second bite, especially with something like pudding or yogurt - anything thickened with flour or cornstarch - and then try to store it, even that tiny bit of saliva will break down the viscous substance and turn it to a thin liquid. I found that out when feeding my first baby something out of a baby food jar and going back to it later, and it's happened throughout the years when someone would take a couple quick bites of something from the fridge then put it back. It's really disgusting.

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