Tips for food served outdoors
- Keep a roll of foil and kitchen towels handy to cover food and paper towel rolls for clean-up.
- Have a cooler available, filled with ice, or freezer packs.
- Always use clean tongs, serving utensils, bowls and dishes for serving cooked food (not the same ones used in pre-cooked food prep).
- Perishable food shouldn’t sit out for more than 2 hours (in outside temps above 90°F, not more than 1 hour).
- Opt for healthier salads and safer mayo/egg substitutes use mustard, avocado, hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese, pesto, or olive oil.
- Canned foods such as vegetables, sauerkraut kraut, fruit, tuna, olives, pickles, beans, etc. are an easy and safe option.
- Hot food should be kept hot until served.
- Cook foods at the correct recommended temperatures. Meat thermometers are really helpful. For example: 165°F for all poultry, leftovers and casseroles; 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, ham, lamb and fish (allow meat to rest 3 minutes before carving or eating); 160°F for ground meats.
- Chicken, beef, hot dogs, etc. should be kept at least 140°F. It can be kept on the BBQ rack, but not directly over flame otherwise it will burn.
- Manage the amounts of food left out. Serving bowls should be doled out in smaller portions, keeping the remainder in the cooler or fridge.
- Never thaw food on the counter, bacteria multiplies rapidly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.
- Store all leftovers in your refrigerator right away. Label your leftovers with date of refrigerated/cooked.
- Set up a bee/wasp trap away from your dining area about a half hour before eating/cooking, so you won’t be bothered by these flying pests. Use a cup or bowl with soda, fruit juice, syrup, or sugar water a few yards away from your picnic area to attract them away from you.
- Clean surfaces, cooking and eating utensils often. Germs that can cause food poisoning survive and can spread in your kitchen and outdoor eating area.
- Keep cleaning and sanitary wipes handy for easy cleaning.
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap prior to, during, and after food prep and before you eat.
- Rinse fresh vegetables and fruit under running water.
- Separate foods that have the potential for cross-contaminate such as raw meat, chicken, eggs, and seafood.
- In food prep, use separate cutting boards, knives, forks and/or plates for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and separate from fruits and vegetables.
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