By Chef Selwyn Richards
Summertime temperatures can often reach 30 degrees Celsius, or hotter, depending on where you live. The heat index can make it seem as if the temperatures are even higher. If you’re trying to beat the heat, these ideas may help.
Choose cool foods, such as salads during the summer months. Of course, if you have a picnic or outdoor gathering, you will want to keep the foods cool, to avoid the formation of bacteria, which can make you and your family sick. Remember that any food is at risk, if it is kept outdoors at 30 degrees Celsius, for an hour or more.
Obviously, if you are at home, you can keep foods cool by leaving them in the refrigerator. If you are having a picnic or family reunion, where refrigeration is not available, you can use some of these other options:
* Electric coolers are a great option if you are away from home. These are coolers, which can plug into the electric outlet in newer vehicles. The cooler enables food to remain in the ‘safe zone’ of under 4 degrees Celsius, while it is in use. You can often purchase electric coolers at camping supply and discount stores.
* Chest-style coolers are also helpful for keeping foods cool, as long as they are filled properly and kept closed until the food is needed. It is best to pack your cooler in the opposite way you expect to need the food. This will enable you to find what you need, when you need it, and then close the cooler. You can also pour some ice on the bottom of the cooler, place the food on top of the ice, and then pour more ice around the food. This creates a pillow of cold air to keep the food safe.
* Make sure the food is pre-chilled or frozen before placing it in the cooler. Having the food already cold will lengthen the amount of time the food will remain safe for everyone to eat it.
* Transport packed coolers inside the car, where it is air-conditioned, rather than in the trunk. The air around the cooler can affect how quickly the ice will melt. If the cooler is placed in a hot trunk, the ice will melt faster and the food may be affected.
* Put your beverages in a separate cooler, rather than putting them in the same cooler as the food. People can drink several beverages in a short period of time. If each person gets two drinks in an hour, the cooler could be opened dozens of times, which might affect the quality of the food in the cooler.
Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone — (905) 619-1059.