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Food Safety Tips for Picnics and Slow Cookers

When creating tasty potluck dishes or looking for easy picnic recipes, it’s important to keep a few food safety tips in mind. Follow our slow cooker and cooler tips for outdoor barbecues and cookouts.
Food Safety Tips for Picnics and Slow Cookers

Picnic Safety Tips

  • Keep food items at a proper temperature with insulated coolers or thermoses. Before you transfer any food to a storage container, make sure it’s either thoroughly heated or chilled. Partially cooked foods should not be packed.

  • Preheat or chill the thermos for at least 30 minutes before adding food. To preheat, pour boiling or very hot water in the container and replace the top. To cool a thermos, fill it with ice water and replace the top. Cool down insulated coolers by filling them with ice water or ice cubes. Close the lid and allow it to chill for 45 minutes to an hour.

  • Keep hot and cold foods separated.

  • For more insulation, wrap several towels or layers of newspaper around hot food containers.

  • Place frozen ice packs or bags of ice around or on top of cold foods.

  • Don’t peek! To keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, try not to open thermoses and coolers until you are ready to eat.

Slow Cooker Tips

Dishes made in a slow cooker are great to take along to potlucks, picnics, work functions and school events. To help ensure food arrives intact and tasty, follow these guidelines:

  • As mentioned above, wrapping a towel or newspaper around your container will help insulate it. There are also insulated totes designed specifically for slow cookers.

  • To ensure your slow cooker stays flat in your car, place it in a box or other container. Keep in mind the floor of your car is a flat surface; the seat of your car is not.

  • Attach rubber bands around the handles and lid to secure the lid when traveling.

  • Serve the food within an hour, or plug in the slow cooker and set it on the low heat setting (or “keep warm” setting) to stay warm for up to two hours.

  • Be sure to put your name or an identifiable mark somewhere on your slow cooker. Many kinds look alike, so it’s easy to grab the wrong one.