Summertime means that kids are out of school and that friends and family are constantly wanting to get together. It feels as if you’re always cooking for some type of outdoor party or barbecue, and trying to find foods that will survive the outdoors, and the heat, can be tricky.
Luckily, there are plenty of tips to help ensure that your picnic runs smoothly.
1. Know the food and where it came from.
If you’re preparing food for the BBQ, make sure you know where it is and how it was prepared before it arrived. For example, if you made a pasta salad, you will want to keep it cold until it comes time to serving the item. On the other hand, if your friend brought a hot dish, you will need to know if it can sit out or if it will need to be reheated.
2. Wash your hands.
Unfortunately, germs and bacteria easily travel from one place to another, so it’s important that you limit the amount of germs being spread by constantly washing your hands. If you’re preparing one side dish and need to move on to the next, wash your hands in between. Though it may seem redundant, this is what will keep your food fresh from harmful bugs. Wouldn’t you rather take the 30 seconds to wash your hands that find all your guests got food poisoning?
3. Start the day before.
The day of the party is going to be insane. You will be involved in last minute shopping and last minute preparation. The only way to alleviate some of this stress is to start getting ready for the party the day before.
Use the day before to do all your hard cleaning and hard shopping and food prep items. Getting all of these tasks out of the way will give you enough time to finish all the last minute details, and you won’t be running around like crazy as guests arrive.
4. Use a clean grill.
Just like it’s important that your hands be clean during food preparation, it’s also important that your grill is also clean. Always use platters to set utensils on, and make sure everything related to the grill was recently cleaned with antibacterial solutions.
Once food has been cooked on the grill, make sure that you take everything off the grill and serve the food. Food that sits out is prone to airborne disease.
5. Be mindful of bugs.
Bugs are a constant occurrence around barbecues. If possible, it’s always a great idea to keep your food inside. This way, you will eliminate the amount of bugs that fly over or land on your food.
If indoor food storage is not an option, you will need to make sure that everything contains a lid. Though it may be a pain for guests to open and close a lid, it will ensure that your food has not been damaged in any way.
Susanna Watters is a writer and cook. She enjoys writing about recipes, cooking tips, and nutrition. Susanna recently wrote an article about the nutrition in nuts.