Posted on by Paula Gallagher
Packing a picnic is quintessential summer. As a child, every Sunday in the summer my parents would get up early and pack a feast in the cooler so we could enjoy eating alfresco. We would then drive to a local park where we would spend the day swimming, playing badminton, lounging in the shade and eating the wonderful meal that had been prepared.
Today, I have continued the tradition with my own family. Packing a picnic and heading outdoors for the day is one of my kids' favorite things to do! However, proper food preparation and storage should be at the top of your list when planning an outdoor meal.
First thing in preparing a picnic is planning and organization. Once you get your picnic tote organized, packing up for your next outdoor trip will be easy. Keep a tub handy with the essential tools and you can pull a picnic basket together in no time. Unfortunately, nothing can ruin a picnic faster than food gone bad. Spoiled food is not always detectable, and the side effects might not show up until a day or two later.
Picnic Safety Tips
Here are a few picnic safety tips to keep everyone well and your picnic enjoyable and memorable.
1. Be sure to keep cold food cold. Store food in a cooler at 40 degrees and pack it with frozen gel packs and or ice. Frozen foods in closed containers will also help keep things cold.
2. Pack your beverages in a separate cooler. This way, reaching for steady refills won’t affect perishable foods.
3. Store raw products in tightly closed containers.You don’t want raw meat or seafood contaminating other foods.
4. Make sure your tables, grill and hands are clean. If unsure about clean running water, bring a jug with soapy water and paper towels.
5. Marinate foods in your refrigerator, never at the picnic site. And never reuse marinade or containers that previously held raw food.
6. Keep cold foods cold, hot foods hot:
- Store cold food at 40 F or less until serving time.
- Serve hot food at or above 140 F.
- It’s best not to leave either out for longer than 2 hours.
- If the outdoor temperature is 90 F or higher, discard leftovers after 1 hour.
Most of all, enjoy your picnic!
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