Keeping things COLD- When it’s HOT!

Bottled water is a great picnic chiller. Freeze the bottles of water and then use them in your food cooler. Another way would be to freeze containers of water making larger blocks that fit in your cooler around the food containers you will be taking. Larger pieces of ice stay cold longer, maintaining a safe temperature in the cooler than small cubes can.

Use bagged ice for the beverages. Scoop ice into Freezer gallon bags, that way people can use it in their beverages if they want to and it won’t be dirty from the drink containers. Drinks chill faster when there is a little melted ice water in the cooler so don’t stress the water.

* Try to plan just the right amount of foods to take. That way, you won’t have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers. If food sat out during the picnic, do not take it home to serve. Throw it away. Also serve dips for veggies and chips, mayonnaise based salads, perishables in smaller serving containers keeping the rest cold in the cooler and replenish as needed.

* When taking foods off the grill, put them on a clean plate, not the same platter that held raw meat.

* When preparing dishes like chicken or cooked meat salads, use chilled ingredients. In other words, make sure your cooked chicken, steak or pork has been cooked and chilled before it gets mixed with other salad ingredients.

* It’s a good idea to use a separate cooler for drinks, so the one containing iced perishable food won’t be constantly opened and closed.

* Did you know that a cooler chest can also be used to keep hot food hot? Line the cooler with a heavy clean towel for extra insulation and place well wrapped hot foods inside. It is best to wrap the hot foods containers in aluminum foil shiny side in and a kitchen towel. It’s amazing how long the foods will stay not only warm, but hot. Try to use a cooler that is just the right size to allow the hot food containers to be packed fairly tight so less heat escapes.

* Wash ALL fresh produce thoroughly. When preparing lettuce, break into pieces – then wash. A salad spinner is excellent for cleaning lettuce, fruits and vegetables. Good rule of thumb rinse twice, then spin.



Best way to keep things hot is to put the hot food into a covered dish with snap on top like those glass containers by Pyrex. Then wrap the dish in a towel and place it in a cooler with other hot foods. The tighter the fit the better. Your hot foods will stay hot and ready to serve at your outdoor event… This method is great for tailgating too.


Quick look at right temperatures for cooking meats…

* Cook foods to the required minimum cooking temperatures:

– 165˚ F > Poultry, poultry stuffing, and stuffed meat.

– 160˚ F > Ground Beef, fish, and seafood.

– 145˚ F > Pork and food containing pork. New temperature standard for pork . Ground pork however is still 165˚

– 145˚ F > shell eggs and foods containing shell eggs.

Click here to go to Correct Temperature Cooking Chart

* KEEP SEPARATE raw uncooked meats from other ready-to-eat Foods like salads, raw vegetables or fruit, during storage and preparation.

* Cool leftovers as quickly as possible. If you are eating later be sure to reheat to 165˚ F before serving again.


Bacteria on food will rapidly multiply when left at a temperature between 45˚ F and 140˚ F. Avoid this danger zone as much as possible. Refrigeration in your refrigerator should be  40˚ F.  Check it out using a thermometer over a 24 hour period just to be safe.


keep’n ya safe!     until later betti : )




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