Tips for a Successful Picnic
Summer is the time for grilling, and with 80 grills throughout the park, Lake Sammamish State Park is ready every year. The smell of the cooking food entices everyone at every age to get out there whenever the weather allows for a bit of fun in the sun. Pack up the kids, grab some friends, and put the dog on the leash, because this summer is for many successful picnics at Lake Sammamish State Park.
Using a public picnic area requires some planning, and extra items that might not be used on a home setup, such as a tablecloth, aluminum foil, and hand sanitizer. Wash fruits and vegetables at home to avoid the spread of E. coli or salmonella. Grab the meat thermometer as well, as undercooked meat is a leading cause of illness during grilling season, according to the FDA. Use ice in coolers, but remember to never overpack a cooler. An overpacked cooler becomes counterproductive, as the cool air gets trapped under the product. Plan to eat as close to arrival time as possible to avoid letting food warm up in coolers, especially during hotter July temperatures.
Prep Your Station
Get the area ready before starting the fire. Lay the table cloth on the table and use a grill brush on the grill. Brush out any debris left by the last patron from beneath the grill. Line the grill with aluminum foil to help protect the food from anything that may remain on the metal. Bend the aluminum foil over the edge of the grill so it stays in place. A piece of foil simply placed on the grill without being secured will blow away when the heat of the fire lifts it away from the metal. Wash your hands in any of the provided facilities, or use a hand sanitizer before preparing food.
Cook Food Thoroughly and Practice Food Safety
Make sure the meat is cooked thoroughly by using a meat thermometer. According to the USDA, beef and pork must be cooked to 160 degrees, fish, 145 degrees, and chicken, 165 degrees. Use a different plate for raw food and cooked food, as cooked food placed on a raw food plate could become contaminated. Keep salads on ice as long as possible, especially creamy salads, such as potato or macaroni. Be as mindful of food handling on a picnic as you are at home. If it must be refrigerated at home, it must stay cold while on a picnic. Use covers for plates of food to avoid flies on the food. Try to only take the amount of food your family will eat, as storing leftovers gets tricky if you plan to take advantage of everything the park has to offer.
Picnicking is a terrific family past time and have as many wonderful picnics as possible this season.