Survival Health Tips for Your Picnic

            If you’re having a picnic today, or just grilling out in the backyard for friends or family, be sure you exercise proper food safety.  Be sure not to leave food sitting out too long, since it could pick up bacteria that makes you and your guests sick.   We wouldn’t want this to become a situation where someone has to go to the doctor or even the hospital.

            Here is some helpful information on taking care of leftovers.  Also, remember these tips when you bring those perishables home from the grocery store next time.

How Long Is Food Good For  

by Victor Epand

Raw hamburger: has a refrigerator shelf life of 2-3 days after purchase. If you do not use the hamburger within 3 days, it should be frozen for future use. It can be frozen either raw or cooked.

Hummus: It has the typical ingredients – chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Hummus can be refrigerated in a closed container for up to 5 days and can be kept in the freezer in an air-tight container for up to one month. If the hummus appears dry when you take it out of the refrigerator or freezer, you can add a little olive oil.

For meat leftovers, the general guideline is 3-4 days. After that time, bacteria could grow to a level that could cause food borne illness, even in refrigeration. Food spoilage organisms, on the other hand, cause changes in color, texture and flavor and while they are not harmful to eat, they often mask harmful food borne illness bacteria. That’s why we recommend that if food spoilage organisms are present the food should definitely not be consumed.

How many times can you reheat food like this? Technically, if you handle the food properly.By handling properly I mean that the food was cooled within 6 hours to 40 degrees, rapidly reheated to 165 degrees, cooled within 6 hours to 40 degrees, rapidly reheated to 165 degrees, etc. So technically if it is handled as above it’s safe. But as you know, food doesn’t get better with heating/cooling/re-heating. Vegetables break down and become mushy and food takes on a dull color.

Most restaurants do not reheat foods more than 1 time if at all. They don’t reheat because it takes time to monitor food to ensure that it has been handled properly to remain safe and because food doesn’t get better with reheating. Even restaurants famous for chili (one food that does get a better flavor when reheated)prepare fresh chili each day as their reputation is built on good quality, fresh food.

Leftover cooked carrots need to be refrigerated for proper storage after preparation. Cooked vegetables such as carrots can support the growth of harmful bacteria if not handled properly after cooking. Prompt refrigeration helps tremendously in reducing the chances that the carrots will support the growth of harmful bacteria.

It is not recommended to eat leftover ahi tuna that has not been cooked before initial consumption. Raw fish is highly perishable and loses flavor, color and moisture as it is held. Also, food borne pathogens are more prominent in raw fish and can grow to harmful levels as the fish ages.

The recommendation for thawed poultry in the refrigerator is a maximum of 3 days. If you put a frozen turkey in the refrigerator, once it has defrosted, you then have up to 3 days before it must be cooked.

The Government provided Food Safety chart is an excellent guide on how long to store foods in the refrigerator for both quality and safety. While you may be able to store food longer, it has been found that if you stay within these guidelines you will have both a safe and tasty food product to consume.

About the Author

Victor Epand is an expert author for http://www.VacuumFoodSealer.info/. Here you can find the best selection of FoodSaver Vacuum Food Sealers and accessories on the market. Preserve and store foods at home using this proven vacuum packing method. Search through our selection of vacuum food sealers here: http://www.vacuumfoodsealer.info/category/appliances.html.

 

            If this article makes you feel like you should get a vacuum sealer to better protect your food, you’d really do our friend John a favor if you’d click on the Nitro-Pak logo, then type item 5521 in their search box to see the 16 inch Commercial Sealer.

            Meanwhile, enjoy your picnic today!

 

Nitro-Pak Emergency Preparedness Center