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Keeping your food cool or warm when hosting parties outdoors

Keeping your food cool or warm when hosting parties outdoors

Apr 08 2016

With summer quickly approaching, homeowners undoubtedly want to make use of their backyards by inviting over neighbors and friends. While outdoor entertaining ideas like games and music work well for keeping folks occupied, as a host, you want to make sure guests eat, too! However, this presents a challenge - how do you control the temperature of food when the weather fluctuates? With a little strategy and creativity, you can serve up fresh and delicious meals without a problem. Here are some tips to get started:

Be cool with beverages
The standard method for keeping soda and water cold is to stick cans and bottles in a cooler filled with ice, but this is far from the only approach. Consider filling a plastic kid's pool with ice and tossing a few beverages on top for a more fun way to chill drinks. The same general concept works if you fill smaller buckets with ice and double the miniature coolers as table centerpieces. To get real creative, opt for clear containers and use frozen water balloons as colorful ice cubes. Whatever route you take, be sure to provide guests with koozies so they can keep drinks cool on the go.

Of course, group gatherings aren't the only time you'll need to keep drinks cool. For you and your family, make ice with fruit inside to keep glasses of water cold with some added sweetness. Simply drop a few blueberries or a cut-up strawberry in an ice tray, fill with water and freeze.

Keep it consolidated
As much as you might love the way food looks when arranged neatly on a plate, try not to spread out items too much. Consider this: Keeping mac and cheese in the steaming pot locks in the heat. Dishing it into small bowls before serving, on the other hand, makes the meal cool faster. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised keeping hot food in an insulated container until ready to serve, maintaining a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do-it-yourself hot plate
While portable hot plates work well for keeping dishes warm, there are more creative ways to get the job done. Wrap a few bricks in tin foil and heat them up in the oven. Once they're hot, stick them in a tray, a place a dish that needs to be kept warm on top. Voila - You made your own hot plate!

Make nice with ice
Many picnic dishes also require a chilled environment. Potato, fruit, pasta, macaroni and egg salads are just a few examples. Fill up a large receptacle, such as an inflatable buffet, with ice, and nestle the containers of food into it. This way, homeowners can keep the dishes cold while guests serve themselves seconds and thirds!

The purpose of having a beautiful backyard design is to enjoy it with family and friends, and delicious food is a staple for get-togethers. Make sure meals and snacks are the perfect temperature.

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