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Test it Tuesday: Will this bowl keep your food hot for 6 hours?

HOUSTON – Barbecues, picnics, and tailgating: When your party revolves around eating and being outside, it can be a challenge to keep food warm or cold enough.

The 6 Hour Bowl that claims it can do both jobs. The insulated bowl costs $19.88 at Walmart. It says it keeps hot food hot and cold food cold with no electricity required.

Product: 6 Hour Bowl

Insulated stainless steel bowl that holds nine cups of food.

Claims: Keeps hot food hot and cold food cold

Summary of test

Food temperature is very important to food safety. The FDA says the safe holding temperature for hot food is 140 degrees or higher. For cold food like pasta salads, the temperature should be 40 degrees or less. Anything in the middle is considered the danger zone where bacteria can grow most rapidly, and that can make you sick.

We tested the 6 Hour Bowl three times:

  1. We poured piping hot soup into the bowl at 7:19 p.m. The soup was 149 degrees just before we locked the lid on the bowl for the night. The next morning, when we took the lid off, the soup was just 81 degrees. Unfortunately, eight hours had passed, so we wanted to try again.
  2. We heated up a big pot of beans to 150 degrees. We filled the 6 Hour Bowl to the brim because the manufacturer says it works best to hold your foods’ temperature when it’s full. Six hours later, when we opened the bowl, the beans were just 115 degrees. by FDA standards, the beans were not hot enough to serve. The bowl failed this test.
  3. Lastly, we filled the 6 Hour Bowl with ice, put the lid on, and left it outside on a partly sunny day with temps in the mid-60s for three and a half hours. When we checked the ice, it was still mostly frozen. We only found about half a cup of water at the bottom of the bowl.

Verdict: Partially true. The 6 Hour Bowl won’t likely keep your food hot enough for a full six hours, but for two to four hours, it would likely work. Also, keep in mind at a potluck or picnic, people will probably be opening and closing the lid repeatedly. It would be difficult for the pot to hold the temperature of the food in that situation.