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Summer is the perfect time to have a picnic. The only problem is it’s hard to keep picnic foods cold, especially during the blazing months of July and August. The hot temperatures of these months can quickly turn potato salad into a salmonella infested nightmare. Luckily, there are easy ways to keep picnic foods cold.

How to Keep Picnic Foods Cold #1: Buy a Cooler

The size of cooler you will need to purchase will depend on the size of your family. If you have a small family, a large cooler will not work properly to keep your picnic foods cold. This is because picnic foods will stay cold longer if you pack them tightly. When picnic foods are packed tightly the items work together to keep everything cold. A soft-sided cooler will allow you to pack more picnic foods in one space and be easier to transport.

How to Keep Picnic Foods Cold #2: Freeze Bottles of Water

Many people use ice to keep their picnic foods cold, but this can quickly become a big mess. As the ice melts, your picnic foods may become soaked with water. Items that have paper packages will easily be ruined. That’s why frozen bottles of water work better at keeping your picnic foods cold. You can also freeze bottles of juice. I don’t recommend freezing bottles of soda, because the carbonation of the soda will diminish as it thaws out. This is also a much better option than ice packs, because this tip also ensures that your beverages are nice and icy cold.

How to Keep Picnic Foods Cold #3: Thoroughly Chill Items Before Packing Them

It’s actually best to prepare picnic foods either the night before or several hours before the event. This way, picnic foods will be thoroughly chilled. When you place things, like potato salad, into a cooler before they have had time to chill thoroughly, they will rise to unsafe temperatures quickly. They will also warm up other picnic foods more quickly.

How to Keep Picnic Foods Cold #4: Buy Specially Designed Products

Other than coolers, and ice packs, there are items that will keep your picnic foods cold longer. For example, you can buy small refrigerators for you vehicle. These plug into your cigarette lighter and will keep your picnic food cold for as long as you need them to. There are also bowls designed to keep picnic foods cold. These bowls allow you to place ice in the bottom and then another bowl fits securely on top. This way your potato or garden salad stays cold longer.

How to Keep Picnic Foods Cold #5: Keep Items in the Cooler

Instead of setting all of your picnic foods out on a table, keep the cold items in the cooler. This way, the food will stay cold longer. You also need to make sure you keep the lid of the cooler closed. The more you open the lid, the more cold air escapes. So, when you do get an item out, make sure everyone has the amount they want before placing it back in the cooler.

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