The holidays are time to enjoy special desserts that you might make only once a year. Some of these foods require special care to prevent foodborne illnesses, warns LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
Pies containing eggs and milk, such as pumpkin, custard and cream pies, should be refrigerated until served.
“When you are ready to eat these pies, remove them from the refrigerator, slice and serve them and then return them to the refrigerator,” Reames said.
Pecan pie also should be refrigerated and not left at room temperature for more than two hours, according to the American Egg Board.
Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content in which bacteria multiply rapidly when foods containing these perishable items are left at room temperature. Also, refrigerate holiday cakes, cookies and breads that have these perishable fillings or frosting.
Commercial pumpkin pies have preservatives and other added ingredients to make them shelf-stable. They may be displayed and stored at room temperature, but once cut, they should be refrigerated, Reames says. Check the label on commercially baked pies for storage requirements.
Avoid perishable foods that are not kept either cold or hot. Cold foods are safe if kept below 40 degrees in bowls of ice or replaced often from the refrigerator. Hot foods are safe if kept above 140 degrees in a chafing dish, slow cooker or warming tray.
For related nutrition topics, click on the Food and Health link on the LSU AgCenter home page at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture