Posts Tagged ‘Picnics’

Picnic basket, flowers, and a book on a blanket in a field.

The days are getting warmer, and the nights are getting longer. Whether you are grilling out, enjoying lunch on the lake, or a picnic at your favorite place, it is important to keep your friends and family safe while having fun.

Food Safety:

Anytime you are working with or preparing food it is vital that you wash your hands. You want to be sure you are washing your hands before and after any task. You also want to wash your hands between handling different food items. Another key task is cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards and work areas to prevent cross contamination.

Temperature Danger Zone:

Another thing to be aware of when preparing food for gatherings is the temperature danger zone. The USDA classifies the temperature “Danger Zone” between 40 ° and 140 °F. The Meat and Poultry hotline states to never leave food out of refrigeration for over 2 hours.

When you are grilling out, remember to cook raw meat and poultry to the correct minimum internal temperatures.

Minimum Internal Temperatures:

  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source.
  • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Along with food safety, enjoy your summer by using these tips and tricks to have a great picnic with your friends and family.

 Tips for the Perfect Picnic:

Consider these tips for the perfect picnic.

  • Keep your cooler ready. If you are planning to make picnics a regular part of your summer, consider investing in a cooler-on-wheels for portability. To help keep foods cold, chill them in the refrigerator before packing and keep them in the cooler until serving time.
  • Fill empty drink bottles half full of water or juice and freeze. The frozen drinks will act as ice packs to keep the picnic cool in transit. At your destination, top off the bottles with water or a drink to enjoy with your meal.
  • Be mindful of your picnic location. When planning your food items, consider where you are going. Even if it is just to the park, it will help you prepare by considering the setting. Avoid anything that gets drippy, limp, or wimpy in warm weather. Gelatin salad is a perfect example of what not to take, and even tossed salads will wilt if left in the sun or warm weather for very long.
  • Make a menu. For an easy menu, have a fix-your-own sandwich bar. Fill plastic containers with pre-sliced sandwich fixings such as lettuce, tomatoes, cheeses, meats, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. Set out hearty breads, crusty rolls or tortilla wraps and condiments.
  • Simple finger food, like carrots, celery, sliced bell peppers are cool, crispy additions to any picnic plate and a great way to include vegetables. Add a vegetable dip, and you have a quick and easy side dish.
  • Keep supplies on hand. Create a supply list and Include the following items: napkins, plates, cups, garbage bags, plastic bags that seal, serving utensils and cutting knives, can opener, cutting board, salt and pepper, packets of condiments, blanket to sit on, hand sanitizer, wet wipes or a wet washcloth in a plastic bag, paper towels, insect repellent.

To include a healthy, fun recipe; check out this MyPlate recipe for Broccoli Salad:


Food Safety and Inspection Service. How Temperatures Affect Food | Food Safety and Inspection Service. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-            and-preparation/food-safety-basics/how-temperatures-affect-food

Lemly, K. (2021, May 24). Picnics, Cookouts, and Family Reunions! Live Healthy Live Well . Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/05/24/picnics-cookouts-and-family- reunions/

University, U. S. (2020, January 28). Ask an expert: Five tips for the Perfect Picnic. USU. Retrieved June      14, 2022, from https://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/perfect-picnic

Written by: Megan Zwick, Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

Reviewed by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Greene County.

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fourth july

Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate our independence with picnics, barbecues, parades, fireworks and family gatherings. Let’s celebrate safely this Fourth of July with the following safety tips.

Food Safety Practices

•Perishable foods are limited to 2 hours sitting at room temperature (just one hour if it is over 90 degrees). Keep cold foods on ice. Hot foods can be kept hot on the grill. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and discard any perishable food that has been out too long in the hot temperatures.
• Use a clean platter and grill spatula to take the cooked food off the grill. The juices left on the grill spatula during grilling and the platter used to hold the uncooked meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.
• Use a food thermometer to determine if the grilled meat is done. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to ensure it has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

o Poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
o Hamburgers (ground meats) cooked to 160 degrees F.
o Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees F.
o Hot dogs should be cooked to 165 degrees F.

Grilling Safety

• Never grill indoors, in the garage, carports, under awnings
• Always keep your grill away from house siding, railings, trees and anything else flammable
• Check gas grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks
• Keep children away from the grill

Be a Safe Swimmer

• Never swim alone
• Be sure children are supervised at all times


• Keep children away from floats and vehicles traveling on a parade route
• Be sure children know what to do if they become lost or separated from parents or supervisors
• Designate a meeting place as soon as you arrive in a public location
• Remember to keep your cell phone battery charged.
Leave fireworks to the professionals
• It is not worth the risk to end up injured playing with fireworks.
• Enjoy the fireworks display in your community!
Stay safe and celebrate this 4th of July!

Resources: fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education

Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewers: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, MFCS, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu

Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Elizabeth Smith, RD,LD, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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