Keeping stock on the stove

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by rpooley, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. rpooley

    rpooley

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    So, I was reading through a French cookbook from the 1920s, kind of "the Joy of Cooking" from back then. Mostly for housewives. In the stock chapter, it talks about how boiling the stock for 5 to 10 minutes every day and leaving it on the stove, you can keep it there for many days, I assume because in that time many people did not have a refrigerator. I don't remember hearing about any waves of botulism deaths from that time, so it seems like it could work.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Maybe the deaths were attributed to possession by demons :evil: and thus not available for consideration of poisoning?
    IDK.
    I am pretty sure the practice is still in use today?
    Are you thinking of trying it?
    If so can I have first dibs on your knife collection and at least one of your Boos cutting boards?

    mimi
     
  3. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I could see this working in winter back in the day when the ambient temperature is lower generally because houses weren't as insulated and therefore colder generally. As Mimi has pointed out, there must have been other factors involved.
    Depending on your stove, make sure the stock isn't sitting over the pilot light.
    In my experience, when stock spoils, you know it as it will begin to smell gross as soon as you begin to reheat it.
    If you try this, I'd recommend using the stock only for the experiment and don't plan on eating any of it. Without more information you run a bad risk of making yourself sick.
    Thinking in more modern scientific terms, the stock needs x hours to cool down, x+ time to begin to spoil. Before the spoilage begins, you reheat it, kill the bacteria and the cycle continues. But the ambient temp and other factors would play a big role.
    So there's a nice convoluted answer for you.
     
  4. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Back then people also lived in their kitchens and food didn't sit around.
     
  5. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    On further thought, I'm not sure botulism would be the illness you'd get sick with. I'm sure it didn't work for everyone all the time and people must have gotten sick from it if they weren't conscientious. I'm sure there's more info somewhere on the rates of illness but I don't know where that info would be.
     
  6. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Plus the family were all immune to the "household" germs.

    m.
     
  7. someday

    someday

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    I don't think botulism would be the danger since botulism grows in a low oxygen environment (canned goods, sous vide). I've heard about this a few years ago as well...Ruhlman did a thing about it.

    http://ruhlman.com/2011/04/easy-chicken-stock-recipe/

    I mean, most of the time it would probably be OK. What Ruhlman says, and what your 1920's cookbook says is probably MOSTLY true. We are, in general, overly afraid of bacteria in this country. Could you leave stock on your stove, boil it every day, eat it, and not get sick? Well, probably. Maybe. But why take the chance? Do you not own a fridge? What would you gain from doing it?

    People did it back then because they had to...for no other reason. You, in all likelihood, don't have to...so why would you?
     
  8. french fries

    french fries

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    Since the stove was most likely always on, I'm assuming the stock was kept above 140 °F, therefore out of the danger zone.
     
  9. rpooley

    rpooley

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    @french fries I have read some other sources which suggested that also. It was like perpetual stock/soup that the cook could keep adding to and extracting from.
     
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    If this was the 1920's and before, chances are these would have been wood or coal stoves, which means that there was probably a fire burning in it most of the time, or, at the very least, hot coals in it that would keep the stock pretty warm, and possibly out of the temperature danger zone. If this is the case I think I would worry more about quality than safety as that stock would be constantly reducing.

    I do agree, also, that in this modern day and age, I think we tend to be a little too paranoid about germs (I'm talking in home, not at the restaurant, although I think it is true somewhat in professional kitchens also). People used to leave their eggs out on the counter. If you do that nowadays, people freak. There are plenty of other examples also.
     
  11. rpooley

    rpooley

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    I think the egg reason is that the chicken-industrial complex washes off the protective natural coating, resulting in a requirement for refrigeration.
     
  12. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    When you go outside the USA most times the eggs in stores aren't refrigerated. My eggs from my Hens sit out on the counter. If I get some real soiled eggs I wash and refrigerate. When the Hen lays the egg it has a protective coating to keep bacteria away from the developing chick. You learn to respect food a lot more when you find out why things are the way they are......
     
  13. summer57

    summer57

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    Up until the 1980s, my grandmother had a wood stove in the downstairs kitchen for the tenant's use. It was constantly hot, except occasionally in the summer. He used to can all the garden produce on that wood stove. Talk about heat & steam. So yes, it's safe to keep the stock on the stove all week if it's a wood or coal stove.