Catering During Warmer Months
With the festive season soon upon us, its time to start thinking about your catering preparations for upcoming family gatherings, particularly if you’re playing host to friends and relatives. While Christmas time is typically a joyous occasion, it can also be a stressful one if you’re catering isn’t adequately planned.
Our warmer summer whether, in particular, spoils food that much quicker and may potentially undo all your hard work in the kitchen. By adhering to the following steps, you can ensure that your food stays fresh and your festivities remain stress-free.
When shopping for the ingredients and products you need, be sure that all perishables reach your fridge and/or freezer as soon as possible. Whilst it’s a relatively basic point, its easy to overlook the simple things when juggling multiple holiday tasks. To avoid your food spoiling before it even makes it home, complete your miscellaneous errands first, or arrange a trip exclusively for your grocery needs.
Storing your food
When storing food that needs to be chilled or frozen, ensure that your appliances are set to the correct settings. Chilled food in your fridge should be set beneath 5ºC, whilst frozen goods should be sitting between -15ºC and -18ºC. Moreover, take care not to overcrowd your fridge with too many items, as this will limit the circulation of cold air and, in turn, limit effective cooling.
When cooking frozen foods, it’s best to thaw your frozen goods overnight in the fridge i.e. the night before you start cooking. Leaving these goods to thaw at room temperature will spoil them faster and increase the risks posed by bacteria. If you’re serving outdoors, consider spraying your serving area with a mild pesticide a few days in advance. This will help deter pests from encroaching upon your food once it’s ready to be consumed.
The big day
When the big day arrives, firstly ensure that your serving area is clean and that hygiene is at the forefront of your mind – handle food with clean hands only, or avoid handling completely if you’re unwell and could risk spreading bacteria (for example, if you have the flu). Keep hot food at 60ºC prior to serving and also ensure that cooked foods and raw meats like seafood are kept separate. Lastly, keep your food properly covered when serving outdoors to discourage unwanted pests.
As the day continues
If it appears that you’ll have leftovers or that your food won’t be consumed immediately, then move all perishable products to your fridge. Keep it mind that its better to chill cooked food as soon as possible, rather than let it cool completely beforehand.
When reheating cooked food after your celebrations, ensure that you do so at a higher temperature (above 75ºC) to compensate for the additional time spent chilled. If you know that your perishable food such as pasta, meat, and poultry has spent more than four hours at room temperature, its better to throw it away than risk consuming any bacteria that may have formed as a result.
For more information on how our own services can benefit your catering needs, contact Cannon Logistics on (07) 3217 9211.