by Texas Homesteader ~
Going on a picnic or BBQ cookout? Today I’m talking about Keeping Food Cold!
Food safety is important, especially if you’re bringing food from home when the weather turns hot. Come see my tips for keeping your cold dishes safely chilled on the cheap!
I’ve written before about food safety and keeping your hot dish hot until it’s time to eat.
But today I’m tackling the issue from the other side of the coin – keeping your cold dishes safely COLD!
What Food Is Good For A Picnic?
When the weather turns warm there are often many opportunities to get together.
Picnics and cookouts, swim parties and birthday gatherings, BBQ’s, camping and family reunions. How fun!
It’s fun to get out in the great outdoors, spread a blanket and enjoy a delicious homemade lunch.
There are many fun foods to bring to a picnic, here are our favorites:
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Chilled Sun Tea
But keeping food safely cold when bringing it from home is important. And our ice maker is
crappy, errr I mean small and doesn’t make much ice.
What will we do?
Larger Ice Chunks Keep Food Cold Longer
The secret to keeping food chilled longer is using larger ice chunks so they’ll melt slower.
We keep several water bottles in our freezer that have been refilled with water and frozen.
Frozen Water Bottles Serve two purposes:
First, the fuller a freezer is kept the more efficiently it runs. So these frozen bottles are actually helping our freezer to save electricity.
Secondly, I use these frozen bottles in many different ways such as when I’m making homemade yogurt. When I need to cool the warmed milk I fill a large bowl with water & drop in a couple of these frozen bottles. It cools the water for me to set the pan of hot milk in it.
How To Make Longer-Lasting Ice For CHEAP
But today we’ll be tossing a few of these refilled frozen water bottles into a cooler to help keep our food and drinks cold. I’d say that’s quite a bit of mileage from previously empty bottles destined only for the recycling bin!
But we also needed something for the cooler that packs a little more punch. Those small frozen water bottles will be helpful but we needed ice and lots of it.
Although ice is not expensive, it’s just frozen water! It always seemed crazy to me that there was such a market for it.
And then there would be the plastic bag it’s sold in that doesn’t recycle in our area. Ugh…
So I took a cue from my dad’s oh-so-smart tip arsenal and provided ice the way he does for his large coolers.
How To Keep Food Safely Cold For A Picnic?
Right before we left for the picnic we brought out our cooler and several frozen water bottles. (of course you could use ice from your freezer if your ice maker’s not crappy like ours, or you can just buy ice).
I placed our container of sandwiches, the deviled eggs & hummus containers as well as our watermelon and jar of tea into the cooler.
Then packed the smaller frozen water bottles around them.
Finally I brought out a couple of large frozen 2-liter drink bottles from the freezer. RancherMan took a utility knife and scored around the middle of each bottle, then beat them with a hammer until they broke in half.
He took the halves of the bottles and held them over the cooler, hitting them with the hammer to break the ice into large chunks that then fell right into the cooler.
The beauty of this is that large pieces of ice take longer to melt than smaller pieces. It will also help the frozen water bottles to stay cold even longer.
This can be a money-saving way of providing ice for your coolers throughout the summer.
And this ice will typically melt significantly more slowly than the commercial stuff that’s sold in plastic bags because commercial ice is much smaller pieces.
Homemade ice chunks has certainly been the ice choice for us.
No plastic bags,
no cash out of pocket,
significantly longer safe food cooling.
Gotta love it!
A Fun Outside Family Gathering
We enjoyed our family gathering filled with good food, lots of laughs, rousting games of Ranch-Themed Cornhole and a good time was had by all!
What are your favorite tips for keeping food safely chilled during the hot summer months?
Links Included In This Post:
- Keeping Hot Foods Hot
- Pico de Gallo Deviled Eggs
- Easy Homemade Hummus
- Homemade Yogurt Recipe
- MYO Ranch-Themed Cornhole Game
Other Kitchen Hacks
Low Waste Kitchen Tips
- Keep That Broccoli Fresh
- Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings
- How To Get Free Vegetable Broth
- Easier Deviled Eggs – No Mess!
- MYO Crispy Taco Shells CHEAP
- Instant Pot Boiled Eggs WITHOUT The Shells
- Saute & Freeze Onions For Kitchen Convenience
- Roasting Peppers Quickly On Gas Stove Top
- Heat-Free Way to Peel Tomatoes
- How To Tell If Your Baking Powder Is Still Good
Kitchen Efficiency Tips
- Make Your Slow Cooker More Efficient
- No Cooking Fat Down The Drain
- Quick Baking Measurement Reminder System
- Easy Reminder For Kitchen Stove
- Expand Your Muffin Tin Capacity With Canning-Jar Rings
- Less Mess When Measuring Honey
- Easily Opening Those Stubborn Jars
…and many MORE!
C’mon by & sit a spell! Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea. There are lots of good folks sharing!
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