To refrigerate pumpkin pie – or not?
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 Michigan State University Extension 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 pumpkin pies safely on the shelf, it’s because these pies include shelf stable ingredients such as preservatives.
Remember to keep your entire Thanksgiving dinner safe by keeping hot food hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods should be held at 140 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 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice. Otherwise, use small serving trays and replace them.