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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kithchen Tip: Keeping Picnics Safe

Warm weather has arrived and with it comes picnic season. I love a great picnic and the only problem is that we must make sure to be safe with picnic food so the good times keep going. Here are some tips:

  • Keeping everything clean is one of the most important tips. Find out if there is a source of safe drinking water where you will be picnicing. If there will not be you need to bring some water for preparation and cleaning. You may want to pack some wet wipes, disposable cloths or moist towelettes as well as paper towels for claning hands and surfaces. Keeping hands clean before and after handling food, not using the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Having a set of utensils for cooking and a seperate set for serving is a good idea as well.

  • Keeping hot food hot and cold food cold is sometimes hard to do when on a picnic but is a very important need. Unsafe temperatures of food is a leading reason for foodborne illness Coolers should be placed in the shade when possible. Food should never be out of the cooler or off the grill more than 2 hours and if the temperature is above 90 degrees that time is cut to 1 hour

  • If cooking food like hamburger patties, hotdogs, lunch meat, or chicken be sure to pack in an insulated cooler that is packed with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs. Both raw meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to prevent cross contamination of the ready prepared foods. Don't pack the cooler until ready to leave the house and keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car when traveling

  • Be aware of the danger zone where bacteria grows the fastest. The temperature of the danger zone is anything below 40 degrees or above 140 degree.

  • If you bring hot take out food on the picnic such as fried chicken or barbecue you still need to be careful as these foods need to be ate within 2 hours of purchase.

  • If you plan on grilling then you need to remember to pack the food thermometer to be sure that all that you grill reaches safe temperatures. If you decide to reheat food at the cook out then you need to be sure that food reaches 165 degrees. Cooking only the amount of food that will be eaten will cutdown on worry of leftovers staying at safe temp. Any leftovers that remain and are cold should be tossed.

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