Food Safety: Keeping Cold Food COLD

~by Tammy Taylor~

 

When the weather turns warm there are often many opportunities to get together.  And, you know, gatherings  often involve bringing your favorite dish to share with friends & family.  Picnics and cookouts – swim parties and birthday gatherings, BBQ’s and family reunions.  How fun!  I’ve written before about food safety and keeping your hot dish hot until it’s time to eat, but today I’m tackling the issue from the other side of the coin – keeping your cold dishes safely COLD!

Keeping cold food cold - Let's talk food safety: Cheap, effective ways of keeping your cold dishes safely COLD! #TaylorMadeHomestead

At a recent gathering we agreed to bring our favorite Zesty Pico de Gallo Deviled Eggs, they’re always a hit!!  I also whipped up some homemade hummus for snacking and we would bring a seedless watermelon for some cold summertime refreshment.  But it was a large party and we knew that the fridge was going to be PACKED with food plus all the leftovers after the feast so we took matters into our own hands in assuring our food stayed cold.  Our ice maker is crappy, errr I mean small and doesn’t make much ice. So it was our trusty chest freezer to the rescue! 

Gathering Ice

We keep several water bottles in our freezer that have been filled with water and frozen.  This serves two purposes:  First, the more full a freezer is kept the more efficiently it runs, so these frozen bottles are actually helping us save electricity.  Secondly, I use these frozen bottles in many different ways such as when I’m making homemade yogurt.  When I need to cool the warmed milk I fill a large bowl with water, drop in a couple of these frozen bottles and it keeps the water cool when I set the pan of hot milk in it. 

Keeping cold food cold - Let's talk food safety: Cheap, effective ways of keeping your cold dishes safely COLD! #TaylorMadeHomestead

But today we’ll be tossing a few of these babies into a cooler to help keep our food and drinks cold.  That’s quite a bit of mileage from previously empty bottles destined only for the recycling bin!  But we needed something for the cooler that packed a little more punch.  Those small frozen water bottles will be helpful but we needed ice and lots of it.  Although ice is not expensive, it’s just frozen water and it always seemed crazy to me that there was such a market for it.  And then there was the plastic bag it’s sold in that doesn’t recycle in our area.  Ugh…  So I took a cue from my dad’s tip arsenal and provided ice the way he does for his coolers.

Heading Out To The Party

So right before we left for the party we brought out a small cooler and several frozen water bottles (of course you could use your freezer’s ice if your ice maker’s not crappy like ours, or you can just buy ice).  I placed the deviled eggs & hummus containers as well as our watermelon into the cooler, and then packed the frozen water bottles around them. 

Then I brought out a couple of large frozen 2-liter drink bottles from the freezer.  RancherMan took a utility knife and scored around the middle of each bottle, then beat them with a hammer until they broke in half. 

Keeping cold food cold - Let's talk food safety: Cheap, effective ways of keeping your cold dishes safely COLD! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Finally he took the halves of the bottles and held them over the cooler, hitting them with the hammer to break the ice into large chunks that then fell right into the cooler. 

Keeping cold food cold - Let's talk food safety: Cheap, effective ways of keeping your cold dishes safely COLD! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Now the beauty of this is that large pieces of ice take longer to melt than smaller pieces and the water bottles will stay cold even longer.   Plus this can be a money-saving way of providing ice for your coolers throughout the summer – ice that will typically melt more slowly than the commercial stuff that’s sold in plastic bags.  It’s certainly been the ice choice for us – No plastic bags, no cash out of pocket, longer cooling action.  Gotta love it!

A Good Time Was Had By All

We enjoyed our family gathering filled with good food, lots of laughs, rousting games of Ranch-Themed Cornhole and a good time was had by all!  What are your favorite tips for keeping food safely chilled during the hot summer months?

~TMH~

 

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our ~TMH~ Facebook Page – it’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or GooglePlus. If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to Subscribe to our blog!

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15 thoughts on “Food Safety: Keeping Cold Food COLD

  1. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome

    Great ideas!! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up and don’t forget to leave a comment at the party – Next week’s features that also leave a comment get pinned, yummed and tweeted!

    Reply
  2. Elaine

    Great Tips!! I use frozen water bottles as well!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday! Pinned!

    Reply
  3. Marge Sweigart

    Hi Tammy! Stopping by from the Let’s Get Real Blog Hop. Really smart idea to keep frozen water bottles on hand. I like your idea of using them for cooling the water when you’re making yogurt, or anything else you need to cool down quickly. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      …Necessity is the mother of invention Marge. LOL Our fridge has such a tiny, crappy ice maker that it can’t keep up with just the two of us here trying to chill our drinks, much less other cooking uses. ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Janet Vinyard

    Hi Tammy, Great ideas for keeping cold food cold! It’s so important in this weather – people don’t realize how often food poisoning happens in the summertime! Thanks for sharing this information! Blessings, Janet

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I agree Janet. And even though ice is cheap to buy I absolutely hate to add any plastic wrappings to our trash (this plastic is not recyclable in our area.) This method makes use out of items saved for us by family members (ie: large soda bottles, etc) that can then be recycled after we’re done with them. One more use before it hits the recycling trail. 🙂 ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Debbie Harkner

    I love reading everything you post, my maiden is Taylor and that’s what caught my eye. I am proud of my married name, but have always been proud of my maiden name also. My dad would always tell me that I am Taylored made, he is gone and has been since 1995, and how I miss him. Your site brings me happiness, and wonderful thoughts of my family, thanks for naming your site Taylormadehomestead. Have a great day. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Awwww Debbie – what a sweet story. I love it!! We Taylor’s hafta stick together! LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  6. ColleenB.~Texas

    When the daughters where younger we used to do a lot of camping and I would make frozen ice in anything and everything, from bread pans to large freezer bags. Nice thing about using freezer bags, they would lay flat on bottom of cooler and food items would set on top surrounded by large chunks of ice. I have even used the heavy duty ice packs that would stay frozen for long periods of time. When going to pot lucks in the heat of summer and would have a cold dish that needed to be kept cold, I would put my cold dish inside a larger bowl and surround with crushed ice. For a family gathering at one time I had taken a kiddy pool, filled with ice and set the cold food items inside the pool. Worked like a charm. A smaller one to hold the beverages in.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      If I have the room in my freezer, I’d much rather freeze large chunks of ice instead of buying those bags of crushed ice. The crushed ice just doesn’t last very long! I like your idea of freezing in bread pans for a larger chunk of ice! Like you, I’ve used the heavy duty ice packs and they stay frozen for a long time but they just don’t seem to share a lot of cold. But I still toss ’em in along with the frozen water bottles and the larger chunks of ice and it all helps to varying degrees. ~TMH~

      Reply
      1. ColleenB.~Texas

        Oh, I don’t buy crushed ice either. It’s just chunks that are broken up smaller to fit between the outer bowl and inner bowl with frozen baggie on bottom of inner bowl

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

          …always the clever one Colleen! You embody my favorite catch phrase: “Use Whatcha Got!”. Love it. ~TMH~

          Reply

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