Are you planning a picnic day and want to know how to keep your food fresh and safe? Is this your first outdoor picnic experience and you are afraid of storing your food in the wrong temperature? Don't panic, because here we offer you the best techniques to preserve your meals for a healthy picnic.
It's obvious: there's nothing better than a picnic this summer, especially since we're coming out of a long period of confinement. Eating outdoors alone or with friends and family is a must if you want to enjoy the summer atmosphere. However, picnicking on a beach or in a park is not always an obvious operation. If transporting food can be easy, it is not always the case of its conservation. Indeed, a picnic of long duration implies that you must maintain the meals under the good temperature to avoid any risk of intoxication.
To know how to keep your food and drinks during a picnic, the answer is quite simple. All you need to do is apply specific storage techniques for fresh and hot meals.
And to help you succeed in this challenge, we will detail in the next sections each of these methods. Better yet, you'll also be treated to a brief presentation of our best containers known for keeping picnic foods healthy. Top, let's go!
How to keep a picnic fresh?
Everyone knows that the time between preparing food and eating it tends to be long when picnicking. So, if you decide to carry fresh food, it is essential to plan for its preservation. In this section, you'll discover a few ways to keep a picnic fresh until you're ready to eat.
Master the right food safety temperature
Basically, there are safe temperatures that are applicable to meals that need to be kept cool. These are mainly ranges of degrees that must not remain in the "dangerous temperature zone" determined by the Laboratoire d'Hygiène Lyonnais (LHL). To this effect, the right temperature to keep your meals cold must be at least 4°C.
Refrigerate food before going on a picnic
To avoid the risk of bacteria proliferation, it is strongly recommended to keep food in the refrigerator the day before you leave. This technique will make the food colder and help keep it that way during the picnic.
Use insulated food containers
If you're planning a picnic, insulated containers are perfect for keeping food cool. In addition, the shelf life of the food they offer is exceptional and can last up to several hours. The list of these containers includes rigid and flexible coolers, electric coolers and stainless steel water bottles. At Healthy Lunch, we carry all of these containers.
Separate your meals with at least two coolers
The more you open your cooler, the more the inside will be affected by the ambient temperature and, therefore, the heat. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria and germs to multiply. Therefore, we suggest that you keep food and drinks in separate coolers. By keeping your drinks in a separate cooler, you won't have to expose your other food items to the air. Alternatively, you can invest in a cooler that has separate compartments.
Store food products carefully
It is important to note that certain foods should be stored neatly in the cooler to help maximize freshness. For example, you can cut fruits and vegetables into convenient bite-sized pieces and also slice cheeses to fit in the bottom.
Freeze water bottles
An easy way to keep your picnic fresh is to freeze your drinks or juice boxes the night before. On the day of departure, place them on top of the food items. On the other hand, another tip is to put ice crystals on any food that needs to be kept cold. However, this is not a universal method. You may very well place them on the bottom of the cooler for extra cooling power.
Seal your container or cooler tightly
The less air in the storage jar, the longer perishable items will last without spoiling. The best way to do this is to keep the storage container tightly closed. Also consider keeping it in the shade. Finally, be strategic in how you serve your food to ensure it always stays cold.
How do you keep a picnic warm?
For a successful picnic, you need fresh produce, but especially hot food. It is therefore important to pay attention to the preservation of this type of food. Here are a few ways to keep your picnic hot.
Reheat food to be transported ahead of time
Making sure your food is heated up right before you leave for your picnic is the first step to take. If your food is a crispy dish like stew, sauces, macaroni or meatballs, the best way to heat it up is with a food warmer. It is a dish that works like a slow cooker and you can find its different models here.
Take the food in an insulated container
A stainless steel lunch box is the best ally to keep the product warm for a long time. Its walls benefit from layers of insulation that prevent heat from escaping. However, you can't walk around with your lunch box in your hands to get to the picnic site. Therefore, you'll need an insulated carrier, such as a cooler, insulated bag or picnic basket.
These are accessories that do not generate heat by themselves and that is exactly what you need. Obviously, this is a must to keep food out of the danger zone. According to the LHL, the best safety temperature for hot food is above 60°C.
Optimize heat retention
If you have a soft or hard cooler, consider strengthening its insulation layer with optimization techniques. For example, you can place heating pads, hot water bottles or towels soaked in boiling or lukewarm water at the bottom of the jar. After that, you can now place your food inside the cooler. Further on, you can also wrap the products in aluminum foil.
Finally, implement the most well-known tip: keep the lid of the lunch box tightly sealed at all times.
How do you keep your drinks cold at a picnic?
Everyone loves a cold drink during a summer picnic. But if you decide to spend the day outdoors, you'll need to take steps to keep them cool. You have to admit, though, that the storage methods are pretty much the same as those mentioned for the cool picnic:
- Keep your drinks in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before you leave. Also, remember to set the appliance to the proper temperature so those liquid foods don't freeze.
- Pack beverages and cans in a cooler or cooler bag, which provide excellent insulation. You can also fill the cooler with a combo of water, ice and salt to enhance the cooling process.
- Also pack them together to restrict the surface area for better cold retention.
Alternatively, we simply recommend investing in a stainless steel water bottle if you are a fan of fruity drinks.
Our best products to keep your food and beverages cold during a picnic
At Healthy Lunch, we have a wide range of containers for storing your food and drinks. Let's take a quick look at two products that you are sure to love.
The Green Picnic Soft Cooler
This cooler makes picnicking in green spaces a joy because of its sleek design and color scheme. Better yet, it's versatile when it comes to performance. Indeed, you can use it to keep food and beverages warm and cool.
For a conservation in high temperatures, the 18 liters container offers you a maintenance of heat on approximately 6 hours. This time is the same when it comes to keeping cold with the possibility of increasing. You just need to put ice packs in it. Further, it is completely waterproof, resistant, easy to maintain and delivered free of charge by us. And, for optimal comfort, we recommend one of our picnic blankets to accompany you during your outdoor activities.
The Golden Flake Stainless Steel Flask
Designed with stainless steel, this thermos promises to keep your drinks hot for about 12 hours. This is a pretty incredible performance that makes it a reference on the market, but that's not all. You can also keep wine or a cocktail fresh and it will stay that way for at least 24 hours. So what are you waiting for? Moreover, its lid is perfectly waterproof and prevents any leakage. The stainless steel bottle is BPA-free and has a capacity of 500 ml.
Finally, we understand that the preservation of food and drinks during a picnic is quite easy. Regardless of the temperature you want to keep your food products under, consider either chilling them in advance or preheating them. Afterwards, pack them in an insulated, airtight cooler. Also, don't look too far and take advantage of our catalog of picnic containers now.