Now that summer is finally here, what better way to enjoy the warm weather than with a picnic or barbecue with family and friends? Whether you are off to the beach, hitting the mountain trails or simply looking for a backyard adventure, you can’t go wrong with a little lemonade and watermelon! Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your favorite summer foods safely stored and your taste buds happy.
Cleanliness is Key
No matter if you are eating indoors or out, food safety starts in the kitchen. Be sure to keep your kitchen surfaces and appliances clean and to always wash your hands before handling food. You should also make a point of washing all your produce and keeping your raw seafood, meat and poultry separate from your other foods. Such raw meats should be thoroughly cooked before serving.
Once you have safely prepared your food, you are nearly good to go! Just make sure to keep cold foods at or below 40 degrees and hot foods at or above 140 degrees. Food should not be eaten if is has been in the “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees for more than two hours (and just one hour if above 90 degrees). So when packing that picnic bag, make sure to eat hot foods quickly and bring plenty of ice packs to keep cold foods cool and safe. Ice packs should be placed on top of such foods to keep them as cool as possible.
Looking to leave the coolers and worries behind? Fresh whole fruits, uncut fresh vegetables, baked corn and potato chips, popcorn and pretzels make for great hassle-free picnics. These summer favorites can be safely enjoyed at a wide range of temperatures, so you can breathe easy as you soak up the summer sun!
To find out more about healthy eating, contact one of our skilled nutritionists or registered dietitians for advice!