Memorial Day is the official kick off to summer for me. Many people go camping for the first time of the year on Memorial Day weekend. I can now be included in that statistic.

When I think about summer and food, I think of so many foods I love to eat in season, like peaches and cantaloupe, to name a few.

Summer food safety is a top on my list as well. As temperatures rise, so does the need to handle food with care.

Keep in mind food safety when planning what you are going to take to picnics and camping. At the OSU Extension, one of our Master Food Preservers favorite sayings is, “keep hot food hot and keep cold food cold.”

That means if a food is supposed to be cold like potato salad — a picnic favorite — you need to make sure after making it to cool within two hours to 40 degrees or lower. Then when transporting the salad, don’t forget to keep it cold in a cooler with ice.

Never let items just sit out on your picnic table for longer than two hours without ice. Also, don’t put items in the direct sun so that they don’t warm up quickly to unsafe temperatures.

When transporting hot foods like cooked meats, cool before transporting, then reheat to 165 degrees at site if you’re not eating the foods soon, in less than two hours. Make sure you can properly transport and keep the food at the correct temperature in the time frame you are planning for making and serving the food items.

Even with all of this planning, remember when in doubt throw it out, another Master Food Preservers saying. This means sometimes if we just aren’t sure if the food was held at the proper temperature or how long it sat out in the sun; just throw it out to be safe.

When planning picnics and camping equipment, make sure that a hand washing station or area is available.

Hand washing is very important when handling food to reduce the risk of germs transferring to people. I also find when I am camping, I am out in areas were its easier to get dirtier. Some bacteria live in dirt which can cause illness like e. Coli. Make sure to always plan for hand washing close to where you plan to serve your meals at picnics and camping.

A great healthy picnic meal could include Sunshine Roll-Ups, summer vegetable and pasta salad and cherry oat crumble. When transporting the Sunshine Roll-Ups you can make up the filling and keep it in a cooler with ice. Then make up the pasta and chill it in advance, then when transporting the salad keep it in the cooler on ice.

Cook the cherry oat crumble, chill it at home then take it in the cooler to eat cold after the meal. The great thing about a crumble is they taste great at any temperature.

Remember summer food safety is important to having a fun healthy summer. Enjoy the above recipes at your next healthy safe picnic.

Mandy Hatfield is the Nutrition Education Program Senior Instructor for OSU Extension Service of Douglas County.

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