The Difference Between Grilling and BBQ

Kevin C.Grilling and Barbecue are sometimes thought of the same cooking method by most. Unless you are a pro on the patio or in the backyard, you may not know the difference. Have no worries, I am here to help a little with that and assist you with choosing the right meat for the right application. Continue reading “The Difference Between Grilling and BBQ”

Food Safety: During and After a Power Outage

Food Safety: During and After a Power Outage - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Coborn's Food Safety Coordinator, Kim
Kim

Hi again! It appears the warm weather may finally be starting to show itself. Yay! Soon the flowers will be blooming and… unfortunately, the skies booming. Inevitably with warm weather comes the chance for severe thunderstorms and potential power outages. With that said, what can be done to ensure our food is safe during a loss of power?

Invest in a Refrigerator Thermometer

One good investment to start with is a refrigerator thermometer. These typically cost under $5 and are valuable to have in your refrigerator at all times.Invest in a Refrigerator Thermometer - www.cobornsblog.com A rule of thumb is to set your refrigerator temperature 3°F colder than what you want your food temperature to be. Remember “The Danger Zone” of 41°F – 140°F? For cold foods, that means we want our items to be at 41°F or lower. So, set the temp of your refrigerator to a max of 38°F to ensure your food temperatures are at 41°F or below. It is also a good idea to have a large cooler(s) with frozen gel packs on hand and/or know where block ice and dry ice is sold (this may be needed for longer power outages).

What to do when the lights go out

Now, along comes that nasty storm….lights are flickering and soon the power is out. Calling the power company and getting an estimate of when the power will be restored is an important first step. If the power will be out for less than 4 hours, typically your food items will be fine. It is important, though, to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. This helps to maintain the cold environment within these units. Opening and closing the doors only lets this valuable cold air escape. If you know severe weather is in the forecast, items currently in your refrigerator like fresh meat, poultry, leftovers, etc. could be placed in the freezer. This way they could potentially be fully frozen prior to an outage. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hours – 24 hours if it is half full. …..This is much better than the 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Power out for an extended period of time

If power will be out for an extended period of time, purchasing dry ice may prove helpful. Per USDA, 50 pounds of dry ice will keep an 18-cubic foot freezer cold for two days. Ensure you take the proper safety precautions when handling dry ice – do not handle with bare hands, do not put in direct contact with the food, etc. Visit dryicenetwork.com for other safety-related information regarding handling dry ice. Not only do we want you to keep your food safe, but you safe as well! Now remember, dry ice is really only needed when the power will be out for long period of time (more than 1-2 days) and you have a freezer full of food that you don’t want to lose. My freezer is rarely full. I don’t know if that is good or bad. The good part is, I typically end up shopping for dinner on my way home from work and visit with the fine folks at my local Coborn’s.

Power’s on, what is safe to eat?

Once the power is back on, you might wonder what to do now. Checking the freezer is the easy part, so let’s start there. Food in the freezer that is still hard to the touch is fine. Food that has thawed slightly, but still has ice crystals and product that has stayed below 41°F is also safe. Refreezing of this product is fine; however, the quality of the food may be impacted. On to the refrigerator… remember, if it has been less than 4 hours, the food will be safe to re-chill down. If power has been out for longer than 4 hours, use the following guidance from USDA to determine what needs to be thrown and what is safe to keep www.fsis.usda.gov

Power Outage Food Safety Guide - www.cobornsblog.com

I hope you will find this guidance helpful. Better yet – I hope you never need to use it! A nice thunderstorm is fine, but much better without the power outages!

Kim
Coborn’s, Inc. R.D. Food Safety Coordinator

Click Here for more articles written by Kim
www.cobornsblog.com - The Ktichen Detetive

Food Safety Tips for Healthy Summer Picnic

www.cobornsblog.com - Make sure your food reaches an internal temperature of these Safe Food Temps before serving

www.cobornsblog.com - Coborn's Food Safety Coordinator, Kim
Coborn’s Food
Safety Coordinator
Kim K.

Wow!  Is it finally here?? I can’t believe it! Finally time to start thinking about picnics!  I thought the snow would never leave!  Food Safety’s Recipe for Success can be applied to preparing picnics as well.  Why don’t we take a look the main steps in our “Recipe for Success” when planning a picnic.

  • CLEAN – Keeping hands and surfaces clean – running water is always best, but WetOnes typically can do the trick for wiping down picnic tables and washing hands if there aren’t any handwashing facilities available. If bringing raw meat to grill, some extra steps will want to be considered.  Bringing liquid soap and a cooler filled with warm water is a good option.  Hands can then be scrubbed with soap and water.  Another option is to bring plastic gloves.
  • SEPARATE – While we’re talking about raw meat, I should take this time to discuss the importance of separation.  Bring the raw meat in its own cooler, so it doesn’t cross contaminate ready to eat picnic food.  An additional measure to be taken with raw meat is to keep various types of meat separated as well.  This is due to the different cooking temperatures.
  • CHILL – Remember, even raw meat needs to be kept below 41F prior to grilling.  Also, all salads, cut fruit, and vegetables need to be kept chilled below 41F (and in their own cooler).  One of the items to pay extra close attention to is the temperature outside.  As the temperature outside rises, it is important to keep in mind the temperature of the items in your picnic basket or outdoor buffet.  Items should not sit out for more than one hour when temperatures soar above 90F.
  • COOK – Grill meat to the appropriate internal temperatures (listed below).  So, yes….even on a picnic, you should bring your thermometer with you.  It is truly the only way to tell if the correct temperature has been achieved.

-Kim
Coborn’s Food Safety Coordinator

Click Here for more blog articles written by Kim

www.cobornsblog.com - The Ktichen Detetive

Food Safety Month

When you spend the time and money to create a healthy menu and shopping list for your family, you want to make sure you don’t do anything at home to jeopardize your food. But do you know how cold your refrigerator should be? Or what temperature you’re supposed to cook that steak to?

September is National Food Safety Education Month. The goal is to make sure we all know just how to care and handle our food. One big tip is to make sure you have a thermometer in your refrigerator to keep an eye on how cold it is inside. 40 degrees is where it should be to keep bacteria from growing. Also, don’t overstuff your fridge – the cool air needs to circulate to keep your food safe.

On the hot side of things, make sure you’re using a meat thermometer to check that your food is getting to the proper temperature before you eat. When dealing with meat, there are some temperatures you want to remember.

  • Beef, lamb and veal (steaks, chops, roasts) – cook to 145 degrees
  • Pork – cook to 160 degrees
  • Ground beef, lamb and veal – 160 degrees
  • Poultry – 165 degrees

Heat also matters when it comes to leftovers. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature. Make sure you get any leftovers into the refrigerator within two hours. If it’s hot (above 90 degrees) – get them cold within an hour. When you’re ready to use up those leftovers in the fridge. Make sure you’re heating food to 165 degrees. You also want to make sure you’re using any leftovers within four days of when they were initially cooked.

Bottom line: keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold and keep them separated. And, above all, wash your hands and any utensils or cutting boards in hot, soapy water to avoid any contamination.