One question I get every year around the Holidays is “Do I need to refrigerate Pumpkin Pie”? People have typically left pies out at room temperature for the after meal dessert time. The best practice is to refrigerate any pies that are custard based and that does include pumpkin pie. Due to the higher moisture content and acidity levels falling into a gray area it best to go ahead and refrigerate those pies after you have baked and cooled them.
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Beth Waitrovich, at Michigan State University, says after baking your pumpkin pie, refrigerate it to keep it safe to eat.
Thanksgiving dinner desserts traditionally include pumpkin pie. There’s nothing like the smell of pumpkin pie baking or the taste of the pie with whipped topping to make the turkey dinner complete. But why should you refrigerate the pie after baking it?
The reason MSU recommends refrigerating the pumpkin pie is because of the ingredients. Pumpkin pie is made with eggs and milk; it must first be safely baked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Other pies made with milk and eggs such as custard pie or cheese cake should be treated similarly. Then, they must be refrigerated after baking. Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content and when these baked products are left at room temperature, conditions are ripe for bacteria to multiply. It’s not necessary to refrigerate most other cakes, cookies or bread unless they have a perishable filling or frosting.
What if you don’t like your pumpkin pie cold? The safest way to warm your pumpkin pie is to reheat it in the microwave for 10 to 30 seconds right before you are ready to eat it. Only heat the slices of pie which will immediately be eaten in order to keep the rest of the pie safe to heat for the next meal.
If you are wondering why grocery stores can store pies safely on the shelf, it’s because these pies include shelf stable ingredients such as preservatives.
The good news is that you can leave fruit pies out at room temperature. Ben Chapman, with North Carolina State University, says that due to the high sugar content, lower moisture levels and the higher acidity level of fruit pies bacteria is less likely to grow.
Remember to keep your entire Thanksgiving dinner safe by keeping hot food hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods should be held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. On a buffet table, you can keep hot foods hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers and warming trays. Cold foods should be held at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice. Otherwise, use small serving trays and replace them.
Source: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/to_refrigerate_pumpkin_pie_or_not , Michigan State University Extension.
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