Safe Ways to Keep Food Warm When on a Picnic
Picnics don’t have to mean cold finger food. There are plenty of delicious warm dishes you can enjoy providing you have the right equipment.
The trouble is, even with the right equipment there’s still a major safety issue to consider. Unless you keep the food at the right temperature, there’s a chance you could end up with food poisoning.
To avoid this, below we’ll look at 5 safe ways to keep food warm when on a picnic.
Use a warming tray
Warming trays are fantastic as they can help to ensure the food remains at a consistent temperature throughout the picnic.
While the majority of warming trays on the market are electric-based, you can find ones which work via candle. Obviously, there are limitations with this method as if it’s windy, the candle will soon blow out. So, only consider it if it’s a calm, hot day.
Another thing to consider is bugs. Ideally, you’ll want to keep the food uncovered on the tray. This prevents the steam from making the food turn soggy. If you do need to cover it, make sure you’re only using it to warm foods that won’t go soggy.
Use boiling water in an insulated cooler
If you’re looking to keep the food warm until you arrive at your picnic spot, an insulated cooler will work best. The USDA recommends adding boiling water to the cooler, pouring it away and then adding your food to it.
The food should already be hot before it is placed into the cooler. Seal it shut and ten don’t open until you arrive at the picnic. Depending upon how far it is and how soon before you left you made the food, the heat may be contained throughout the duration of the picnic.
The foil, towel and hot pack method
Another insulated cooler tip is to wrap the food up well with aluminum foil and use hot packs to keep it warm.
There’s actually a technique to this as simply placing hot packs into the cooler won’t work very well. Instead, you’ll need to knead the gel within the hot pack carefully. It should be kneaded for a few seconds prior to going in the microwave, then for another few seconds afterwards.
Start by heating it for 30 seconds, remove and knead, then place it in the microwave again for an additional 10 seconds. Continue this until it feels hot enough.
Finish by wrapping both the foiled food and the hot pack in a large towel to keep it further insulated. The food should be served within approximately an hour for maximum safety.
Keep the cooler on the floor of the car
Did you know that floor of your car conducts heat? You can use this to your advantage when it comes to transporting hot food in a cooler. Simply place the cooler onto the floor of the car, rather than in the boot or on the seats.
Use ceramic rather than metal serving dishes
Placing the hot food in a ceramic serving dish for transportation to the picnic is a great idea. Unlike metal, ceramic isn’t a conductor, which means it will not lose heat as quickly. It also helps to keep the food well insulated.
As with some of the other methods, it does help if you wrap the food in a few towels for added heat retaining benefits.
So, there you have it – 5 safe ways to keep food warm when on a picnic. If you follow the tips above, it will reduce your chances of developing food poisoning and ensure the food is nice and warm throughout the picnic.
You should always eat food within 2 hours once it’s been taken out of the container. It’s also a good idea to follow proper safe preparation guidelines when cooking meat.
Overall, taking warm food to a picnic doesn’t have to be worrisome. Follow the tips above and just ensure the food stays at its recommended temperature.