Keeping Summer Foods Safe
Have you ever been ill from eating bad food? It wasnít pleasant, was it? If not, then maybe you know someone who has had food poisoning. Itís not a pretty site. When you prepare food outdoors or are away from commercial refrigeration, it is always important to properly pack and store your food items so that the party isnít over before it begins.
Preparation is important. This goes for picnics and cookouts in the park. If you can precook food like ribs or chicken (parboiling) then you are not dealing with raw meat. The heat of the day can turn meats bad faster than you would imagine. And, blood from raw meat can spread bacteria to surfaces and other food. No one wants to get salmonella or worse.
Cold is a must. This is especially true of salads that contain mayonnaise. You donít want them warming up and getting rancid. Instead of large bowls that are hard to pack and keep cold, package macaroni, tuna and chicken salad in smaller containers that can be covered with ice and kept cold. Even better than ice are ice packs. Keep them in the freezer until use and layer them under, beside and over your foods.
Hot foods should stay hot. Use a warmer bag to store grilled food. In hot weather, promptly refrigerate it after an hour or throw away the leftovers.
Covering foods keeps them bug free. Bees and flies, not to mention ants, are attracted to picnics. You donít want flies landing on the fruit salad all day. Just looking at it will make you sick, let alone eating it. Cover meat when cooked so it too is protected from pests.
Enclosures are helpful. Mosquito netting can help avoid pests from getting at your food and also keep your guests more comfortable. It also lowers the temperature where you are serving the food.
Menu choices make a difference. Instead of a lot of salads that can wilt or go bad in the heat, offer nuts and dried fruits to eat. They are packaged for easy carrying, especially to the park or when camping. If you like that sort of thing, try other dehydrated foods that donít need refrigeration.
Clean hands keep away germs. A pop-up container of wipes can be used to clean hands after handling food on the grill and between meals to keep everything as bacteria free as possible. Use them to wipe up spills and clean surfaces.
Ice should stay fresh. Some people use the same ice for drinks that housed the drinks or the food. This can spread bacteria and is generally unsanitary. Use ice packs for food and ice for drinks.
If youíre planning any type of get together this summer that includes food remember to keep it safe. Unhealthy foods are a party crasher that no one needs to ruin the perfect summer fun.