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Keep holiday desserts safe

News Release Distributed 11/14/12

BATON ROUGE, La. – Pies are traditionally served at holiday feasts. But mishandling them can lead to problems, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames.

“To prevent foodborne illness, you must refrigerate pies containing eggs and milk, such as pumpkin, custard and cream pies, within two hours of preparation and/or serving,” Reames said.

That also goes for pecan pie as well as holiday cakes, cookies and breads with perishable fillings or frosting.

“Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content,” Reames said. “Bacteria can multiply rapidly when foods containing these perishable items are left at room temperature.”

To be safe, bake pies containing eggs and milk to at least 160 degrees, cool them quickly, and refrigerate them promptly. When you’re ready to eat, remove them from the refrigerator and slice the servings you want, then cover and return the pie to the refrigerator.

Commercial pumpkin pies have preservatives and other ingredients added to make them shelf-stable. “They may be displayed and stored at room temperature,” Reames said. “But once cut, they should be refrigerated. Check the label for storage requirements.”

Leftover fruit pie, which typically is prepared without eggs, can be covered and stored on the counter for up to two days, Reames said. For best quality, however, refrigerate them. In warm climates, experts recommend to always store fruit pies in the refrigerator.

“To prevent foodborne illness, avoid eating perishable foods that are not kept either cold or hot,” Reames said.

For buffets or other serving situations, you can keep cold foods safe below 40 degrees in bowls of ice or by replenishing them often from the refrigerator. Keep hot foods above 140 degrees in a chafing dish, slow cooker or warming tray.

Rick Bogren
Last Updated: 11/14/2012 2:38:31 PM

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