An especially hot summer can be a time of great opportunity for professionals who handle food. Due to the beginning of the barbecue season and the availability of seasonal treats at outdoor buffets, food carts, and pop-up stalls, sunny weather typically puts people in the mood for outdoor dining.
As a result, a long summer can be advantageous for both chefs and customers. However, it’s important to remember that outdoor cooking presents its own unique set of difficulties, and it’s crucial for food handlers to always operate with safety and hygiene as their top priorities.
It can be challenging to get this just right, but by remembering a few basic guidelines, it becomes much simpler to steer clear of any potential pitfalls and offer a memorable outdoor dining experience.
Did you know that the summer is the time of year when food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses are most likely to occur? Understand why? Bacteria are found in the soil, the air, the water, and in the bodies of both humans and animals, according to the USDA. The hot, muggy summer months are ideal for these microorganisms’ rapid growth. On food, harmful bacteria can quickly multiply to high numbers in the right conditions. When this occurs, a person eating the food may become ill.
Additionally, outdoor activities rise. At picnics, barbecues, and camping trips, more people are cooking outside. Typically, there aren’t any of the safety features that a kitchen offers, such as thermostat-controlled refrigeration, washing machines, and cooking. Here are four quick steps to consuming summertime food that is safer.
In the summer, as the temperature of our surroundings rises, so does the temperature inside our bodies. As a result, it leads to dehydration, tiredness, irritation, and restlessness. This intensifies the need for nutrition. However, the summertime heat has a negative effect on our appetite. To cool down our body’s temperature, we prefer to drink water, juice, or other drinks (preferably with ice). Drinking too much typically results in our stomachs being full and our appetites being satisfied but does not supply our bodies with enough vitamins and minerals. We’re here to discuss some summertime foods that are both hydrating and nourishing.
Tips on food safety temperature
Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold is a good rule of thumb for maintaining food safety. For food that’s typically refrigerated, food safety is a concern when it’s out of safe refrigeration range, or above 40° Fahrenheit (F), for a long time. Food-borne illnesses have a chance of developing when foods are out of this safe range for two or more hours.
Foods containing meat, eggs, and dairy products may be more prone to harmful bacteria. Use a sizable picnic cooler with a lot of ice or ice packs to securely pack chilled foods. You can place the dish on top of a bigger dish filled with ice to keep food safe once it is on the table. (You could also pre-freeze serving dishes with about 1/3 water in them and use small ice cubes.)
Dishes should be covered to keep food safe from insects, bugs, and dust. Lids and covers for dishes can also contribute to preserving the ideal temperature. Additionally helpful are umbrellas and shade.
In the sweltering summers, you should eat foods that help your body cool down. One could include rice, wheat, and fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. By lowering body heat, these foods aid in refreshing the body. Tubers are a wholesome food that can be consumed. In the summer, buttermilk and curd are incredibly cooling. You could have traditional, non-oily snacks with your evening tea.
Keep cold foods cold
Until serving time, keep perishable foods and condiments cold in a cooler or refrigerator. Cold foods can be kept in a shallow ice bath while being served, draining the water as it melts. Make sure to never leave out foods that need to be chilled for more than two hours. If temperatures outside are above 90 degrees, one hour is the max.
Those foods at the picnic are delicious, but keep in mind that they won’t be around forever. Any leftovers should be consumed within three to four days and thrown away after that. To stay organized, mark the date on any containers in your refrigerator.
If you do contract food poisoning, you may experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fatigue. Drink plenty of water, and get in touch with your Methodist Physicians Clinic provider.
Set the temperature of your refrigerator between 2°C and 4°C. At low temperatures, most harmful bacteria cannot grow.
Until you’re ready to eat them, store cold dishes like salads and puddings in the refrigerator. Seafood and raw meats should be kept in the refrigerator until just before cooking. To prevent their juices from dripping onto other food, cover them and put them on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Avoid consuming meat products near prepared foods like fruit and vegetables. Not just chicken, but also other meat and seafood (kai moana) can be contaminated with bacteria.
Use an icepack or chilly container to keep food cold when dining outside.
Safely store your food
Food storage practices are just as important to food safety as meal preparation techniques. Fresh poultry, fish, and ground meat should be cooked or frozen within two days of purchase; other meats should be consumed within three to five days. Use cooked leftovers within four days or throw them away. To prevent drips, place frozen meat and poultry on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, away from fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, while the packaging is still frozen.
Making delicious food is only one aspect of being a great cook. A great cook makes sure that the food is safe to eat, preventing intestinal mayhem. When you are ready to have guests over for dinner, you will be prepared to prepare a pathogen-free feast using these food safety tips.
Sort cooked food from raw food
It’s best to keep your raw meats separate from the rest of your food because bacteria can spread from one food to another. Have two sets of utensils and two plates available. Prepare a special plate and utensils for handling raw meat. Use fresh utensils to transfer the meat to a fresh plate or platter once it is fully cooked. Always discard any unused marinade after using it to prepare food for grilling. After being in contact with raw meat, it is permanently damaged!
Utilize the summertime warmth and sunshine to the fullest! But don’t overlook how crucial it is to keep the food secure for you and your family. A happy and healthy summer is what we wish for you!
Spare children’s skin
Summer’s bane is sunburn, and kids are particularly vulnerable to it. It’s important that you lather your child with sunscreen any time they’re headed outdoors. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to 50 on children.
Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming, sweating or toweling off, and consider wearing sun protection clothing for an added barrier.
Babies under the age of six months shouldn’t use sunscreen and should always be kept out of the sun. Use umbrellas to provide shade and light-weight clothing and sun hats to protect your youngest children from the sun.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., harmful ultraviolet rays are at their peak intensity. Children’s risk of sunburn is reduced by limiting outdoor play during these times, says Dr. Sabella, but even when they’re in the shade, you should still use sunscreen.
Maintain water safety
Take to heart pool safety advice for families, from drain covers and fenced enclosures to life vests, swimming lessons, and CPR training, as drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in U.S. children ages 1 to 4.
When near a pool or other body of water, toddlers should stay no more than an arm’s length away from an adult. Empty buckets, bathtubs, coolers and wading pools immediately after use.
Dr. Sabella adds that non-swimmers should always wear life jackets when near water. Everyone on board a boat or other watercraft should wear a life jacket, including adults, children, swimmers, and non-swimmers.
Clean your hands
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before cooking or eating anything. Use hand sanitizer or disposable wipes in the absence of water and soap, and wash your hands later when those resources are available. This will get rid of germs and stop cross-contamination.
Wear a mask and use gloves when preparing and serving food for others to prevent the spread of bacteria or potentially contagious diseases. Of course, if you’re feeling under the weather, stay at home and let others prepare the food.
Keep the packaging tidy
If you use reusable shopping bags or a lunch bag, wash it after each use. Even if the items inside the grocery store packaging are clean, this is often the case. The outside of a ground beef package may drip, which could land on your tote and then land on your farmers market apples. So wash them after each journey.
Cleaning outdoor tables and surfaces is a good idea, just like washing lunch bags (and even your cooler) after use. We frequently overlook the possibility that food could touch the top of a picnic table or the side of a grill before entering our mouths.
Similarly, if you have a few kids to feed, divide snacks into individual packs. Every time a hand enters a shared bag of chips or other items, germs enter the bag as well. It might not result in food poisoning, but it might result in spreading the flu or a cold, which can be worse in the middle of summer. Always pour items out rather than reaching in and grabbing them if you don’t divide.