Food Safety Practices for Outdoor Cooking

food safetyIn the new Cub Scout Adventure program, our Webelos will complete the Cast Iron Chef adventure.  This will help them learn how to cook outdoors which has some challenges that we don’t have when cooking indoors.

One of the challenges is how to keep your food safe when you don’t have the luxury of a refrigerator.  Our boys need to learn good food safety practices while cooking outdoors.

Webelos Adventure –  Cast Iron Chef 2:  Prepare a balanced meal for your den or family. If possible, use one of these methods for preparation of part of the meal: camp stove, Dutch oven, box oven, solar oven, open campfire, or charcoal grill. Demonstrate an understanding of food safety practices while preparing the meal.

Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold

It’s important to keep food at the correct temperature to avoid bacteria.  Most bacteria do not grow rapidly at temperatures below 40 °F or above 140 °F.   The “Danger Zone” is any temperature between 40 °F and 140 °F.  Bacteria multiply rapidly at these temperatures and can reach dangerous levels after 2 hours.  If the outdoor temperature is 90 °F or above, it only takes 1 hour for bacteria to reach a dangerous level.

Since it’s difficult to keep food hot for very long without a heat source, it’s better to cool the food you’ll take on your camping trip.  If you’re “car camping,” taking a cooler will be easy.  Blocks of ice will last longer than ice cubes.  Fill empty milk cartons with water and freeze them to make ice blocks.  While you’re at the campsite, cover your cooler with a blanket to keep it insulated.

Consider taking 2 coolers–one for food and one for drinks.  The drink cooler will be opened and closed a lot which will cause the ice to melt more quickly.  Food will stay colder in a cooler that isn’t opened often.

Take a food thermometer.  It’s hard to tell when meat or poultry is done if you’re cooking on a grill or camp stove, so use a thermometer to ensure that food is cooked to the correct temperature.  You can order one through my Amazon affiliate link.

Keep Everything Clean

Raw meat and poultry contain bacteria that can be spread to other foods through the juices dripping from packages or your hands.  The boys should make sure they double wrap or bag uncooked meat to avoid contaminating other food.  Use different platters and utensils for raw and cooked meat.

They also need to remember to wash their hands well before and after handling raw poultry or meat.  Your campsite may not have running water, so make sure you take soap and water for clean up.

Their fruits and vegetables also need to be washed and dried before packing them in the cooler.

Helping your Webelos learn about food safety will ensure that no one gets sick while you’re camping!

Yours in Scouting,
Sherry

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