Cook, cover, chill, chuck. These are the four tips nutritionist Trish Brimhall shared when it comes to outdoor food safety.
As the weather warms up, we are more likely to eat outside. Though Trish explained that the prevalence of food borne illness increases this time of year. With that being said, these are when her four tips come into play. Follow along below to ensure you and your family are taking the needed precautions to stay safe.
1. Cook with care.
When it comes to grilling, or barbecuing, make sure you keep raw and cooked foods separate. Separate areas, trays, tools and even coolers are the safest way to prevent cross contamination. Then make sure you cook food sufficiently. Trish said the magic thermometer number is 165.
2. Cover food outdoors.
Keep the food covered when possible to reduce the amount of bacteria and pathogens that can be introduced to your food and then ingested. Take into consideration dirt and dust blowing around a campsite and bugs landing on the food.
Make sure that cold foods stay cold. Keep a cooler with ice to transport cold or raw foods and then to chill it afterwards. You will want to keep food out for no longer than 2 hours, but get that food put away and chilling so that it doesn’t stay in the danger zone of 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than a total of 4 hours. You can keep hot food hot by using a separate “cooler” and wrapping hot bricks or stones in a kitchen towel.
4. Chuck it
When in doubt, throw it out. It is always better to throw out suspicious food than to be throwing it up later. So, if you can’t get your chicken kebabs cooked all the way through, or you can’t cool that potato salad down quickly, chuck it.
Fruits, veggies and oil-and-vinegar based dressings are safer foods to eat outdoors and don’t run the risk that protein-rich, meats, dairy and creamy dressings do. Plus, we don’t get enough fruits and veggies in our daily diets, so this is a great opportunity to play it safe and healthier as well.
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp. sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp. dill
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
- 4 cups vegetable juice
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped cucumber
- ¼ cup chopped red or sweet onion
- ½ cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 ripe avocado peeled and diced
- ¼ chopped cilantro (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chill or serve at room-temperature.
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