How To Keep Food Cold Safely at Summer Picnics & BBQs

There is no better way to enjoy the sunshine than with friends and family at a picnic or barbecue. But, when enjoying delicious food in the heat, it is important to keep your treats at a safe temperature to avoid them spoiling. To help you make the most of your outdoor feasts, we’ve pulled together the ultimate guide to cold food storage, helping to keep you safe and healthy.

Why is safe food storage important?

Safe food storage is vital to look after your health. When planning an outdoor feast, it is important to consider safe food storage. Not only will this prevent your food from spoiling, it will also make sure that you aren’t wasting your time or money when preparing meals.

When storing food in the fridge, it is important to keep raw food and cooked food separate. When certain foods are exposed to heat throughout the day, they run the risk of growing bacteria that can lead to severe food poisoning. By separating your raw and cooked food in the fridge, you can avoid cross-contamination. To help you organise your fridge, we’ve pulled together our top tips for safe food storage:

  • Raw Meats: Raw meats should always be stored at the bottom of your fridge, to avoid liquid dripping down and contaminating cooked food. Bacteria from raw food can contaminate cold cooked food, and if the food is not cooked thoroughly again, the bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels.
  • Fruit, Vegetables and Salad: To protect fresh produce from contamination, fruit, vegetables and salad should be stored in a plastic bag with air holes or in a container in the crisper drawer of your fridge. To prevent salads and herbs from drying out, try wrapping them in a humid paper towel before storing them.

What are the five rules of safely storing food for picnics and BBQs?

  1. Keep food cool in the fridge at barbecues, or in cooler bags with ice packs at picnics.
  2. Organisation is key so keep drinks in one cooler bag and perishable food in another. To keep your food cold, pack your cooler bag just before leaving and make sure your ice packs are frozen in advance. Remember to bring spare cutlery, tongs and plates, too, as you can’t wash items at picnics!
  3. Wash fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables (including salad leaves) prior to picnics.
  4. Bring a food thermometer to check if any food that’s been left out isn’t too warm.
  5. Keep cold food cold (below 5°C and kept out no longer than two hours), and keep hot food hot (above 60°C in an insulated container).

What fruits are bad to store in the fridge?

The following fruits should be stored at room temperature to ripen:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits etc.)
  • Peaches
  • Mangos
  • Melons
  • Nectarines

Which type of food is stored in cold storage?

Perishables, such as dairy, meat and eggs, rely on cold food storage. Frozen food storage is ideal for ice creams and items bought from freezer aisles.

Is it necessary to cover food stored in the fridge?

Covering items is essential when storing food safely. This will prevent your food from drying out, absorbing dripping condensation or being cross-contaminated. Make sure to store food in airtight containers, tightly wrapped in cling film or in their packaging.

Which is the coldest part of the fridge?

You’ll find the coldest part of your refrigerator at the back. You can change the temperature in your fridge to make it colder for a big food shop in the summer, just remember to switch it back when your appliance starts to empty.

Can warm chicken be put in the fridge and how long does it last?

Cooked chicken can be kept in the fridge once it has cooled down completely. As long as it is in an airtight container and the fridge is below 8°C, cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.

Can moldy food in the fridge contaminate other food?

Moldy food can easily contaminate other food stored in your fridge through spores in the air. To avoid this, throw the moldy food out immediately, along with any uncovered open food near it. You should always try to store your food in containers.

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