It’s not always obvious to the home cook if food is spoiled. There are the more obvious signs such as mold on bread that tell you that the loaf should be thrown out. Fruits, vegetables, and other produce will wilt, rot, and can also grow mold as well. All these are signs these should be used immediately or thrown into the compost bin already.
For some kinds of food, it’s easy to tell. However, for others, such as a bowl of leftover sinigang na baboy that you super enjoyed last night but forgot to place in the refrigerator overnight, it might be harder to tell.
Here are the two most telling signs that your soup is spoiled already:
1 The soup tastes and smells sour, and it shouldn’t.
Your leftover soup should taste as it originally should taste. If it tastes better because the flavors have melded together, this is fine. However, if its flavors are far from what it should taste like or if it suddenly tastes different from what it was previously, this is a sign that the chemistry of your ingredients are changing and may have spoiled. If it tastes sour and it shouldn’t, it’s a good guess that your soup has spoiled.
You may not want to taste it so use a spoon and give a spoonful of it a sniff instead. If it smells sour or otherwise off, this is another sign as well that it may have spoiled.
In the case of sour-tasting soups such as sinigang, the natural acidity of the ingredients in the soup may mask the sour smell and taste that signals spoilage. In this case, you need another kind of sign to tell if it has spoiled.
2 The soup has bubbles.
Even before tasting the soup or smelling the soup, you might notice something different about the surface of the soup. If the soup has bubbles or is bubbling and you didn’t stir or otherwise touch the surface of it yet, it might be spoiled. These bubbles are the result of fermentation. Bacteria have basically multiplied enough that these have “burped” enough to create visible bubbles on the surface of your soup. Think of it like yeast and how it creates bubbles in bread dough. While yeast is intentionally added to and desired in bread dough, you don’t want these kinds of live organisms in your soup.
Remember to stay safe when it comes to food since food poisoning can happen in your home. Here are basic reminders on food storage safety, especially when it comes to your ulam:
- 1 Don’t allow food to stay at room temperature for longer than four (4) hours to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
- 2 Cool then immediately store leftovers in clean and dry containers.
- 3 Reheat food to kill off any bacteria and prevent faster spoilage.