How to Keep Foods Fresh at a Picnic or Tailgate Party

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:13
Picnics are an all-time favorite of families and people who enjoy entertaining in the outdoors. However, if you're not careful with how you pack your food, cook and prep it, you run the risk of getting sick. Foods that are handled...
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Picnics are an all-time favorite of families and people who enjoy entertaining in the outdoors. However, if you're not careful with how you pack your food, cook and prep it, you run the risk of getting sick. Foods that are handled improperly or are not kept at the appropriate temperature can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Take the time to learn how to keep foods fresh at a picnic or tailgate party and you will be set for some great fun and outdoor entertaining.

Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Packing and Transporting Foods Safely

  1. Step 1 Plan ahead.
    If you're going to have a tailgating party or a picnic, it's important to plan appropriately. Do you need to have a cooler for chilled items? Do you need extra napkins or paper towels for clean up? Decide what your menu is and what food prep items you'll need to enjoy your outdoor meal safely.
    • You may need to plan to bring a jug of water, hand washing soap or hand sanitizer with you. If the area you're going to doesn't have a bathroom or washroom, you'll need to have these supplies with you. This way you are practicing safe food handling at all times.
    • Will you need extra plates and utensils for serving? Consider what raw items you'll have and how many plates or utensils you'll use preparing these foods. For example, you cannot use the same platter raw chicken was held on to serve the cooked chicken.
    • Think about what supplies you have at home for transportation. Do you have a cooler bag? Do you have enough freezer bags or ice? Buy what items you don't have.
  2. Step 2 Purchase appropriate coolers and bags for transportation.
    Probably one of the most important aspects of food safety when it comes to outdoor eating is keeping foods cold. If you let foods get above 40F, you're allowing harmful bacteria (like Listeria) to grow. You need to keep foods very cold until ready to eat or cook.[1]
    • You need to have a cooler bag, freezer packs or ice to keep foods cold. Chilled foods need to be stored at 40F or cooler. If foods reach a temperature above this, especially for more than 2 hours, these foods should be thrown away and not eaten.
    • Foods like meat, poultry or seafood can be put into freezer bags frozen (which can help the bag stay cooler overall). They will slowly and safely thaw in the freezer bag.
    • You may also consider freezing water bottles and putting them into resealable plastic bags. These can serve as ice to keep the cooler cold and when they're thawed, they'll be a nice cold beverage for everyone.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Cooking and Serving Foods Safely

  1. Step 1 Wash and sanitize your hands.
    Just like you would at home, it's still important to wash and sanitize your hands when you're preparing your picnic or tailgating food. It may even be more important as you're most likely serving other people. Follow these hand washing techniques:
    • Wet your hands under running water. You may want a friend or family member to pour water over your hands if there isn't a sink.[3]
    • Squirt a little bit of soap onto your hands. Rub your hands together to get a full lather. Scrub your hands, wrists and under your fingernails for at least 20 seconds.
    • Again, rinse your hands under running water. Grab a friend to help you if there isn't a sink. Rinse until all the soap is gone.
    • Dry with a paper towel or dish towel. Do not touch a door handle or faucet after this stage.
    • If you are using sanitizer, rub a quarter size drop of sanitizer all over your hands and wrists until it evaporates and your hands are dry.
  2. Step 4 Don't reuse utensils or serving platters.
    Even if you do all the right things when it comes to packing and cooking foods to the right temperature, you can contaminate all your foods if you accidentally reuse utensils and serving platters.
    • Plates, bowels, trays or forks that were used to hold, prep and cook raw foods should be discarded afterwards or put away until you get home to wash them.
    • If you accidentally reuse these items, it's recommended to throw away the cooked food. You have possibly reintroduced harmful bacteria from the raw food's juices to the cooked food.
    • Once you've put food on the grill, have a new and clean platter and utensil set ready to go. This helps eliminate the possibility of you forgetting to switch to clean items.
    • Also do not reuse a marinade or sauce leftover from raw meat or poultry. Even if it's a tasty sauce, the marinade needs to be cooked until it reaches 165F for it to be safe for consumption. However, it's best to throw out unused marinades or sauces that were used with raw meat and poultry.
  3. Step 5 Plan to keep cold foods at the right temperature.
    It's not only important to keep cold foods at the proper temperature during transportation. It's also important to keep an eye on them when you're serving them as well.[4]
    • Consider bringing big food trays to keep filled with ice for your picnic or tailgating party. You can set bowls or platters on top of the ice to help keep chilled foods at a cooler temperature.
    • Continuously use your instant read thermometer to track how cold your foods are. Make sure this is a separate thermometer from the one you used to check the temperature of meat and poultry on the grill. If they start to get warm, you need to either place them back in the cooler or time how long they can sit out.
    • Set a timer if you do not have a way to keep chilled foods cold. Set it for two hours. Once your timer goes off, it's time to get rid of the cold items.
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Choosing Temperature-Stable Foods

  1. Step 1 Pack fresh, whole fruit and vegetables.
    There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to food safety during picnics and tailgating parties. However, there are plenty of foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, that you do not need to worry about keeping at a safe temperature.
    • Many fruits and vegetables are great shelf-stable items. They don't need to be chilled, they don't need to be cooked and can sit out at room or outside temperature without you needing to worry about them going bad.
    • You may want to consider packing some fruit for sides. You can pack quick items like whole apples, pears, bananas or even grapes. Once cut or sliced, these foods need to be refrigerated.
    • Vegetables are another great side dish or appetizer you can serve. Wash carrots and celery sticks to be served with a ranch dip. Bring whole corn on the cob or sweet potatoes to slice and grill. Also bring whole tomatoes or onions to slice at your picnic for hamburger toppings.
    • Although temperature isn't a concern, you still need to make sure you use safe food handling techniques like washing fruits and vegetables prior to consumption.
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Things You'll Need

  • Insulated bag
  • Ice chest of appropriate size
  • Plastic containers with secure lids
  • Bagged ice or freezer packs
  • Aluminum foil
  • Small plastic containers with lids
  • Disposable plates and meat platter
  • Paper towels
  • Jug of water
  • Hand sanitizer and/or hand washing soap

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