This information has been reviewed and adapted for use in South Carolina by P.H. Schmutz, HGIC Information Specialist, and E.H. Hoyle, Extension Food Safety Specialist, Clemson University. New01/99. Revised 09/06. Image added 05/16
"There are always ants at a picnic." You can see ants and avoid them, but it’s not possible to see, taste or smell dangerous bacteria that can cause illness if food is mishandled. Bacteria grow and multiply rapidly in the danger zone between 40 ºF and 140 ºF. Food transported without an adequate ice source or left out in the sun at a picnic or when tailgating won’t stay safe for long. Family and friends who eat mishandled food may get the flu-like symptoms caused by foodborne illness.
A well filled and properly packed picnic basket guarantees a safe and delicious meal.
University of Florida Extension
Follow these tips for packing food safely for a picnic or when tailgating.
Try one of these menus the next time you tailgate for a safe and delicious meal.
Curry-Yogurt Dip with Fresh Vegetables
Mini Pineapple Cheese Cakes
Game Plan: Make everything the night before; package in containers with tight-fitting lids and store in the refrigerator. Prepare dip by stirring 6 tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons curry into one pint of plain yogurt. Toss cooked pasta with crunchy vegetables and Italian dressing. Package tomato wedges in a separate container to garnish pasta salad when ready to serve.
8 small graham cracker crusts
3-ounce package pineapple-flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1½ pounds cottage cheese
¼ cup sugar
8½-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and cool to lukewarm. In a blender, thoroughly mix the cheese and sugar. Slowly add the gelatin and blend well. Pour the cheese mixture into the individual crusts. Refrigerate until firm. Empty the pineapple and juice into a saucepan, add water and cornstarch. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Cool 15 minutes and spread over the top of each cheesecake. Chill at least 1 hour.
Two 3-ounce packages lime-flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
4 cups cold water
Two 6-ounce cans frozen limeade, thawed undiluted
46-ounce can pineapple juice
64-ounce bottle ginger ale
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cold water, limeade concentrate and pineapple juice. Chill. Add ginger ale before serving. Makes 20 cups.
Game Strategy: This menu makes enough for eight hungry fans. The dip, chicken and cheesecakes are perishable and must be kept in the cooler with plenty of ice. Make sure food is thoroughly chilled when it goes into the cooler. The pasta salad and beverage are not as perishable, but still belong in the cooler. You may want to freeze the punch in a gallon milk jug to help keep the other food cold and safe. Remember to return leftovers to the cooler and keep the cooler cold.
Dried Beef Open-Face Sandwiches
Basket of Fresh Fruit
Game Plan: Make nibbles and cookies ahead of time and store in airtight containers for up to a few days. Wash fruit before packing in the picnic basket. Take an assortment of whole-grain party bread, bringing only what you expect to use. Choose the dried beef that is sold in the canned meat section of the grocery store and take mustard and horseradish as condiments. Unopened canned meat does not need refrigeration.
6 cups dry cereal (like puffed wheat, rice squares or oat circles)
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 cup peanuts
1/3 cup margarine
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon celery flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Combine cereal and pretzels. In a saucepan, melt margarine and combine with Worcestershire sauce and seasoning. Toss with cereals and add peanuts.
Place in a shallow roasting pan. Bake at 275 °F for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Makes 2 quarts.
Game Strategy: The foods selected for this menu will pack into the picnic basket. Choose this game strategy when refrigeration is limited or to keep on hand in case you have extra guests.
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