After Thanksgiving is finally over and relatives have gone home, you may be ready to collapse on the couch. When the thought enters your mind that the delicious pecan pie you made is still sitting out in the kitchen, you may wave it off. "It'll be fine," you think. Pecan pie resembles a sticky, gooey candy that happens to be baked in a pie crust, so we might assume it's going "to keep." Unfortunately, we're here to let you know this theory is totally wrong.
The easy answer to the age-old question, "Does pecan pie need to be refrigerated?" is Yes. Egg-rich pies such as pumpkin pie, custard pie, and pecan pie need to be refrigerated, according to the USDA. Even when a pecan pie is store-bought and packed with preservatives, it shouldn't be left out on the kitchen counter. Bacteria can form and may prove harmful to those having late-night leftovers or pecan pie for breakfast. This holds true even if you're super exhausted after a long Thanksgiving holiday of cooking, baking, and hosting family.
Is it OK to Leave Pecan Pie Out Overnight?
Pecan pie that is left out overnight is most likely to spoil. After it cools, you shouldn't leave it at room temperature for more than two hours. The inclusion of eggs in the filling is the element that can keep coming back to haunt you. Chilling the pecan pie earlier than later is a rule you should keep in mind no matter what the season or weather is like.
Does Pecan Pie Ever Go Bad?
According to the USDA, pecan pies that are chilled in the refrigerator stay fresh for approximately three to four days. This is especially true when the pecan pie is homemade without any preservatives. You can check with a bakery if you're getting a store-bought pecan pie there, but it's best to stay on the side of safety.
When a pecan pie goes bad, you'll know by the disagreeable odor and/or taste it has. The pie may even show some mold, depending on how long it's been, and look extra soggy. If this occurs, accept the inevitable and throw your spoiled pie away!
Does Costco Pecan Pie Need to be Refrigerated?
If going by the USDA rules about "egg-rich" pies, you should still refrigerate a pecan pie from Costco. Some pies contain preservatives, including the Costco pecan pies (though their pumpkin pies claim to be preservative-free.) Be extra safe and keep a Costco pecan pie in the refrigerator once you've tightly re-wrapped it.
As for the shelf-life of a Costco pecan pie, check the date on the package. Don't keep the pie in the refrigerator if it's been over two to four days after this sell-by date. However, you can freeze a store-bought pie from Costco for approximately six to nine months after this date.
How to Store Pecan Pie (And Other Pies)
If you've just taken the most delectable pecan pie out of the oven, leave it out to cool at room temperature for up to two hours. It can be covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap so it doesn't absorb any refrigerator food smells. Store the pecan pie in the refrigerator for three to four days. Don't wrap the pie too tightly so it keeps its shape and will be super fresh when enjoyed on Thanksgiving Day.
When freezing pecan pie, you might want to use a strong freezer-safe plastic bag as well. You can make any number of fall pie recipes early and freeze them so they're ready to eat and still fresh.
Regarding other kinds of pie that you might make in autumn, the same rules mostly apply. Once wrapped, refrigerate the pie for up to two to four days. It's possible to freeze fruit pie, pumpkin pie, and — of course — pecan pie. Pies you don't want to freeze include mousse pies, custard pies, and meringue pies. Your best pies won't experience freezer burn if you use plastic wrap and aluminum foil or a freezer bag for freshness.
READ MORE: 50 Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas (That Aren't Pumpkin Pie) To Steal the Spotlight During Your Holiday Feast
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