While putting the hot pot in the fridge once will not break it, repeating the process may weaken the glass until, YES, the structurally compromised glass will eventually shatter and leak all over your fridge.
It is unlikely that hot containers will break a refrigerator shelf. Putting a hot container full of hot food on a glass shelf in a refrigerator will not break the shelf, but it will cause the refrigerator to work harder and consume more electricity as it attempts to cool the food.
Hot or warm food will briefly warm the air and thus, to some extent, the food already in the fridge, particularly items close to it. Cycling temperatures have no effect on the quality or shelf life of fresh food. Modern fan-forced refrigerators may be less susceptible to this issue.
This is a very inefficient use of energy. Simply allow it to cool on the bench until it reaches a cooler temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. If it will take more than 2 hours to cool, use any of the well-documented and appropriate techniques to cool food quickly and safely.
Why Does Glass Expand Thermally?
Before you invest in glass refrigerator storage bins or bakeware, you should understand how this material performs in different environments, so you know which type of glassware to use for what.
The thermal expansion properties of glass are extremely specific. When the temperature changes, it will either expand or contract depending on the surroundings.
Glass expands when heated or exposed to the summer sun in your backseat. It contracts when placed in the refrigerator or freezer. Expansion and contraction are usually fine when they happen on their own, but when they happen at the same time or in quick succession, things can go wrong quickly.
When standard soda-lime glass is exposed to two extreme temperatures, such as quickly switching from oven to fridge, it will experience thermal shock and crack or shatter. Typically, this causes different parts of the glass to expand while others contract, pulling the material in opposite directions. This is a recipe for disaster, and the glass shatters as a result.
Is It Possible To Freeze Hot Food?
To answer, yes. Refrigeration is an essential component of our modern lifestyles. Our refrigerators and freezers keep food fresher for longer periods of time and allow us to safely store leftovers.
By keeping all kinds of things at a safe, bacteria-stopping temperature, proper refrigeration can help you get more out of your weekly shop, save money, and reduce waste.
However, there are numerous ways for refrigeration to go wrong, ranging from putting hot food into a cold fridge (a no-no) to keeping things chilled when they don’t need it.
What Happens When You Place Hot Food In The Refrigerator?
It’s not so much about the hot food you’re attempting to cool as it is about the rest of the items in your fridge. When you introduce something with a higher temperature into your temperature-controlled refrigerator environment, it raises the temperature of everything else inside.
No matter how smart your appliance is, it will have to work much harder to keep a low temperature when a steaming-hot meal is heating things up.
Furthermore, when you place something warm or hot inside your refrigerator, the clashing temperatures will cause condensation. This may settle on the back wall of your refrigerator and freeze any food items that come into contact with it.
Condensation in your refrigerator can also mean extra moisture where you don’t want it. Salad leaves, for example, may spoil faster if they become wet from condensation.
What are Some Tips for Freezing Glass Containers?
Glass may break when placed in the freezer, despite your best efforts.
To help avoid this, here are a few tips for preventing the glass from breaking when frozen.
1. Cool And Warm Gradually
When storing food in glass containers, regardless of the type of container, you must cool and warm it slowly. This will help to prevent thermal shock and reduce the likelihood of glass shattering.
There are two ways to do this. If you’re storing leftovers, make sure everything is cool before putting them in the container. Alternatively, place it in the container first and allow it to cool.
Allow a frozen container to thaw at room temperature before attempting to defrost it with any heat.
2. Avoid The Use Of Shaped Containers
If you’re using mason jars, they’re usually made with ‘shoulders,’ which is a curve near the top of the jar. These shoulders create a stress point where pressure can build up and cause the glass to shatter.
Any container with this shape can cause stress points. When freezing glass containers, use jars or containers without shoulders or other potential stress points.
If you use jars with shoulders, make sure there is plenty of space for the contents to expand. This will help to relieve the stress.
3. Leave Some Room At The Top
When you freeze food, especially liquid, it expands. As a result, when freezing food, leave a gap at the top of the container to allow for this expansion.
Leave an inch or two below the lid line if using mason jars. Also, if you use lids, don’t tighten them all the way down the first time you put them in the freezer, and leave the lid off until it’s completely frozen.
Once frozen, tighten the lid or cover the container with a lid. This will help to keep pressure in the container at bay.
4. Allow Enough Space Between Containers
Another thing that can cause glass containers to break is if they collide. Glass clinking can cause frozen containers to break much more easily.
To avoid this, leave some space between containers when they freeze. If you use Pyrex or similar containers, the rubber lids act as a kind of bumper for your glass.
Leaving space between your glass containers can help to reduce the likelihood of your glass breaking.
How frequently should you clean your refrigerator?
By now, your fridge should be looking good and healthy. Still, if you want to live your best fridge life, make sure the shelves, drawers, and walls are bacteria-free!
Refrigerators are one of the most important appliances in our homes, working around the clock to keep your ingredients and leftovers safe and ready to eat. Show your fridge some love with a monthly deep-clean that includes checking the back for any mold.
Will a glass of hot coffee break in the refrigerator?
The refrigerator will also slowly cool the coffee, causing the cup to experience minimal temperature shock. However, putting your coffee cup or glass in the fridge on a regular basis can damage it. This can eventually cause your cup or glass to break.
Even if your glassware does not shatter, keep in mind that the fridge or freezer is not the best place to store large amounts of hot food. Once in a while, putting a steaming pot of soup or a large tray of hot roasted vegetables in the fridge is fine, but don’t do it all the time, as it can cause your fridge to heat up and work inefficiently.