Venturing into the great outdoors this weekend?
Summer outings can be ruined if safe food handling and preparation practices are not used. Hot summer temperatures can help foodborne bacteria multiply at a rapid rate, spoiling food and causing illness.
Keep cold food at 40 degrees F or colder to prevent bacteria from growing. Pack cold foods in a sturdy, insulated cooler with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs. Freeze your own blocks of ice in clean milk cartons or plastic containers for use in the cooler. The trunk of a car can reach temperatures of 150 degrees F or greater. Transport coolers in the passenger area of a car. When arriving at your destination, put a blanket over the cooler and place it in the shade. Keep the cooler closed until you are ready to eat.
Keep hot foods at 140 degrees F or higher to prevent harmful bacteria from growing. Take-out food or food cooked just before going to a picnic can be carried hot. Wrap hot foods in towels or newspaper, and place inside a box or heavy paper bag. Keep these foods warm on a grill or use within 1 hour.
Here are some additional safe picnic tips:
-- Bring soap if water is available. Pack moist towelettes and hand sanitizer if you do not have hand washing facilities available.
-- Pack plenty of utensils and dishware. Bring serving utensils for each dish to prevent contamination. Consider using disposable plates and plastic utensils.
-- Wash hands before handling food and use clean utensils and containers. Never use utensils that have touched raw meats on any other food item.
-- Clean your produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before packing them in the cooler — including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth towel or paper towel. Packaged fruits and vegetables that are labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed” or “triple washed” need not be washed.
-- Remember your food thermometer! The color of the meat or its juice is not a reliable indicator to doneness. Always use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your food.
-- If leftovers have been sitting out for more than 1 hour, throw them out! The more time that food has been sitting at an unsafe temperature, the more likely harmful bacteria has grown.
Greek Zoodle Salad
- 2 zucchini, washed
- 1/4 cup red onion, washed and diced
- 1/4 English cucumber, washed and sliced
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 1/4 cup Greek dressing
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cut zucchini with spiralizer tool. A peeler may be used if necessary (if you don’t have a spiralizer, zucchini can be chopped).
Place zoodles in a bowl. Add onion, cucumber, tomatoes and olives. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season as needed.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 80 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber and 350 mg sodium.
Recipe from: North Dakota State Extension