How long does pho last?
Pho came to the US in the mid-seventies after the fall of Saigon. A handful of Pho restaurants emerged and have steadily grown to where the market is today. An explosion of pho lovers across the US. There are Pho outlets in most major cities across the country and even further afield through Europe.
Did you know there is a Pho fashion scene? The food has become so popular that entrepreneurs have made a range of t-shirts sold to pho lovers worldwide.
This low-calorie filling dish has exploded in popularity among home cooks. This article will answer frequently asked questions that home cooks should know about storing Pho safely.
Let’s dive in.
Does Pho expire?
Yes. But it is a little more complicated than you might first have thought. You will know that pho is a combination of broth, rice noodles, strips of beef, or chicken Pho veggies can be anything but are mainly bean sprouts and bok choy.
The combination is a wholesome low-calorie meal with very little fat when served steaming. But when it comes to storing Pho, you will need to separate the components or deconstruct the dish into its constituent components.
This is the reason why. Rice noodles, when cooked, have a short shelf life. In the fridge, they will last for two days max before they are spoiled. This is the reason why.
Vegetables and herbs spoil at different rates, so if you have pakchoi and beansprouts, the bean sprouts will spoil first, and so on.
If you have gone to the trouble of making your own broth, you will understand how time-consuming it is, and the thought of throwing the broth may send shivers through your spine.
If you place a bowl of pho in the fridge, it will expire within two days. If you have deconstructed the dish and placed the components in the fridge, the pho will last 6 to 7 days—a short shelf life.
Does Pho need to be refrigerated?
Yes. Pho ingredients are not what you would consider robust or long-lasting ingredients except for the meat or protein element of the pho.
Placing pho in the fridge will preserve the food temporarily in two ways. It will cool the food, slowing the decay process, but only for two days.
If the Pho is covered and the fridge is at 40℉, there will be a less likely hood of bacteria growth within the Pho that could render the Pho potentially dangerous after just two hours.
But keep in mind pho will only last for two days in the fridge. It is not a long-term solution to storing Pho.
Does it make a difference if the Pho is covered in the fridge?
Yes, it does make a difference. It will help prevent the accelerated growth of bacteria. This, of course, requires the fridge temperature to be at 40℉ or lower.
Can you put warm Pho in the fridge?
It’s not advisable. Placing anything warm in the fridge will radiate heat and cause the temperature of the fridge to increase. Once the fridge temperature increases to above 40℉, every food in the fridge is in the food danger zone, which is 40 to 140℉.
Food in the danger zone is susceptible to bacteria growth that will render the food inedible in just two hours. According to the USDA, any food exposed to danger zone temperatures for two hours should be considered garbage and thrown away.
How long can Pho sit out?
Perishable foods like Pho should sit out for not more than two hours. Guidelines from the USDA say that perishable goods sitting out for more than two hours are deemed to have sufficient bacteria growth and are potentially dangerous to consume.
Pho is typically served very hot, so you can make an allowance for the temperature difference, but it will not extend to sitting out a room temperature life by very long.
How long does Pho last in the fridge?
2 days. The separate ingredients of pho have a decent shelf life, and beef will last 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Rice noodles have a long shelf life when not cooked, and veggies last for approximately a week.
Putting the ingredients together to cook it is a different story. Noodles will perish and disintegrate after a couple of days. Cooked rice noodles separated from the broth will last for 4 days, sealed in an airtight container. Noodles will perish and disintegrate after a couple of days.
If you keep the pho together as a cooked dish, it will last for two days. If you deconstruct the dish, you may be able to get another two days of shelf life in the fridge except for the cooked herbs like cilantro.
Does frozen Pho go bad?
It depends on how you freeze Pho. To freeze Pho, you must break down the ingredients and separate them. Drain off the broth and store it in sealable freezer bags to prevent leaks. An airtight container will be just as good.
Once the broth is separated, place it in the freezer, it will last for six months easily and will taste perfect when you need it.
You can freeze rice noodles for up to two months, but it’s a judgment call. Rice noodles are cheap, so is it worth freezing them? It is a different situation if you have lots of rice noodles.
Place the noodles into Ziploc bags, be careful not to squish the bags, as the noodles will not look great when defrosted and may become once mush of rice noodles.
For the veggies, it is hardly worth the effort to freeze them. They will certainly not do well in the freezer as the ice crystals will crush the leaves, making them look limp and unappetizing, to say the very least.
Cooked beef and frozen chicken have similar shelf lives of around 3 months. You may consider just freezing the broth, it’s the key ingredient, and the others are just secondary to the amount used in the dish.
How do you defrost Pho broth?
The best way is to place the bags of broth in the fridge and leave them overnight. But, if you are in a rush, you can zap them in the microwave, careful not to pop the bags with steam.
Or you could run them under cold running water from the faucet. Once mushy, you can palace in the saucepan and heat gently until thoroughly warmed through.
Does take-out pho last longer?
No. It is essentially the same ingredients made on a larger scale. In fact, it may last a shorter time if they have refrigerated their Pho overnight for the next day’s sales.
When you buy take-out Pho, consider it food that needs to be consumed immediately, don’t be tempted to save some for later. You have no idea about Pho’s bacterial load and freshness.
Having said that, pho restaurants, including fast food, are meticulous about their food standards and are well-versed in preparing fast, fresh food.
Is the meat in pho Raw?
It can be, but more often, it is partially cooked. The chicken will be cooked thoroughly, so don’t worry. Pho can be served with meatballs that are quite delicate and will be cooked in steaming broth.
Some pho uses smoked brisket, a beautiful cut, combined with boiling broth. You will have an explosion of flavor like you never experienced before.
Can pho broth be left out overnight?
There is some misinformation regarding the subject. You can leave broths and stews sitting out overnight. After all, they are going to be heated to a boiling point, which will kill off the bacteria!
But not so fast. The USDA scientists are not slouches, and if they advise not to do it, there is something behind the reason for the advice.
So, you boil the broth or stew, and the bacteria have been killed, right? The bacteria may have been killed, but the toxins they left behind are active and can potentially make you sick.
This applies to all broths, soups, and stews with or without meat.
Why is my pho broth cloudy?
It’s been boiled for too long. There is no need to have your broth on a rolling boil. It can cause particles to become suspended in the broth giving a cloudy appearance.
Depending on the origin of the particles, it can make the Pho taste as if it’s turning bad, and it’s not a desirable look for broths.
Pho is a delicate dish and takes some know-how to master, it can be easily messed up by over-boiling, but it should be simmered for a long time, like 10 hours, for the flavor profile to develop.
Once served, the Pho has a short shelf life. It will last a maximum of two days in the fridge if covered.
You can freeze Pho. The broth freezes perfectly and will keep for an incredible six months without degrading. Should you deconstruct pho to freeze it? It’s the only way. You will have to drain the broth from the veggies and meat.
You will need to decide if it is worth freezing the other ingredients in Pho. It may seem more of a hassle than a benefit. If you freeze Pho without deconstructing the dish, it will become a mushy inedible mess.