Are you setting out with friends or relatives for a picnic but want to avoid the hassle of cooking upon reaching the destination? Then, you are to carry cooked food from home. And in that case, you must be acquainted with the tricks on how to keep food warm for a picnic.
Otherwise, all the expected enjoyment of the daylong outing will be pale with cold food! Can’t understand how to keep food hot all along the journey? Keep following us buddy, we will be introducing you to a number of cool yet highly affordable techniques.
How to keep food warm for a picnic – pro level tips
See, there are many methods of keeping your picnic food items warm. Some of those are affordable while some others are costly yet luxurious. However, we will be introducing you to both kinds of methods, splitting the entire write up in two sections.
You can go for anyone depending on your available resource without a bit of a qualm. Every method is equally efficient in maintaining the expected warmness of food. Here we go!
Wrap with aluminium foil
Now this is the cheapest and the simplest way of keeping your food for a standard duration. What you need to do is to wrap the food with aluminium foil at the beginning. Make sure that no portion of the food is visible and the wrapping is tight.
After that you should use a towel as an additional wrapper. Before using the towel ensure that it is well-dried and in a good condition. Wrap the already wrapped food with the towel tightly.
The combination of foil and towel can preserve the warmness of your food from half an hour to a couple of hours. Note down that the thicker the foil and the towel is and the better the wrapping is, the longer the hotness of the food will remain.
Preserve inside a thermal bag
Are you going to a short distance picnic spot thus need to keep the food warm for a short period of time? Then, in that case you should adopt the method of thermal bag, which is another budget-friendly tactic.
The bag is available in most of the grocery stores and comes very cheap yet looks stylish. However, before you place the food inside, wrap them with a towel securely. This will multiply the efficacy of the bag thus your food items will be able to hold warmness for additional duration.
Use hot water bottle or brick
First of all, you should have a bag made of canvas. The bag should be wide enough. Whatever, place your food inside the bag neatly. Make sure that there is still sufficient room for placing water bottles or bricks.
If you choose the water bottle method, in that case you must have a number of plastic bottles. Fill those with boiling water instead of tepid water. Wrap the bottles with a towel. Finally, place them all around your food items.
Want to adopt the hot brick formula? Then, take one piece of brick and burn in the oven until you find it to be red hot. As the redness is on the wane, use any tool available to wrap it with a dense towel. At the end, place the wrapped brick beside the food.
Adopt heat pack
At the beginning, wrap the food with a piece of thick foil and then place a heat pack on the top. Now, it’s time to wrap the food and the pack securely with a thick tea towel.
Then, before you place the food inside your bag, don’t forget to place another heat pack on the bottom surface. Insert the picnic food items inside the bag and seat those on the heat pack.
Your food will get heat from everywhere in a blanched way.
Have an insulated food delivery bag
Can you remember the bag that food delivery men use to carry food? Yes, we are referring to that bag. The bag is not only cost-effective but also compact and lightweight. Most importantly, it can preserve the warmth of your food without any taste distortion for one hour at least.
Why don’t you help the bag boost its capability by adopting foil or towel wrapping method? We mean that before you keep the food items inside, wrap them securely with aluminium foil first and then with a towel.
Your adoption of this simple technique will enable the bag to preserve the hotness of the picnic food for a couple of hours.
Use an usual travelling bag with foil
Surprised? Thinking, how can a regular travel bag preserve warmth? Here goes our hack for you:
Have dense aluminium foil and cover the inner portion of the bag with foil. Cover properly so that not an inch of the bag’s fabric is visible.
Cover your picnic food items with foil and towel respectively. Then, place them neatly inside the bag. Once the items are placed organizedly, don’t leave the upper portion vacant. Fill the whole bag with all other necessary items apart from food.
The combination of foil and other items will be a great deterrence for the inner heat to go out of the bag.
Use heated rice or bean pack
First of all, take a pair of stockings. Obviously, it must be new or properly cleaned. Fill the socks with either uncooked rice or dried bean. Close the open ends of the socks securely. Place the two inside your oven and let them be heated up in a medium temperature for 3 minutes at least.
By the time the rice or bean is heated up, you must not keep sitting idly. Instead, with a normal travelling and aluminium foil follow the same procedure that we have already told you in the immediate previous tactic.
Once the rice or bean socks are ready, insert the wrapped food items first and then place the socks all around them. Zip the bag properly with an assurance of getting warm food for the next 2 hours.
Comparatively costly methods
Have a cooler box
Surprised thinking how can a cooler box keep food hot as it is designed for cooling only? Actually, a cooler box is as effective in retaining heat inside as it is in keeping everything cool.
If you don’t have a cooler box at present then we recommend you to buy a box with 5 layers of insulation. The more the layer, the longer heat is retained. However, a box with 5 layers offers you warm food for 24 hours.
Cook in a slow cooker
You can obviously cook in any vase you like or you have available. But, the coolest benefit that cooking in a slow cooker offers you is – it can keep your food warm even after being unplugged.
So, what you need to do is – cook your food using the cooker, unplug the cooker from the electric source and place the cooker inside a normal carrier for easy transport. Serve the food within the next 2 hours to relish it in the best way.
The only problematic issue that we find with the slow cooker is – it lets you carry only one type of food item. For different items, you are to use multiple cookers, which force you to spend a lot.
Carry food inside an insulated basket
Insulated picnic basket is the updated version of the insulated bag about which we have already discussed in the previous section. Whatever, an insulated picnic basket will cost you more than a bag although both serve the same purpose.
But, in the case of the basket, we must say that it is a bit more efficient than the bag. More interestingly, it helps upgrade your status with its posh look.
Use insulated casserole carrier
An insulated casserole carrier comes with a specific number of glass made boxes. The most engrossing thing is you can choose a carrier on the basis of its number of boxes. The more the boxes, the more dishes you can carry to the picnic spot.
The glass used in the manufacturing is nonporous. As a result, you will face no issue of warping, staining or odor absorbing. Again, the glass is quality full enough to sustain heat of the oven and fridge.
Adopt insulated serving bowl
An insulated serving bowl is able to retain the warmth of your food for 2 hours to 4 hours or more than that. Timing actually depends on the quality that your purchased bowl features.
But, a serving bowl has the same problematic issue that we have associated with a slow cooker. You have to have as many bowls as the number of picnic dishes, which is quite costly.
Use an insulated food container
An insulated food container unlike the bowl and the slow cooker may feature a number of compartments. The bigger the size, the more the number of compartments. You can store every unique dish in a particular compartment without mixing one item with another.
The thing about the container that excites our interest the most is its compactness. Even though you carry 5 or 6 food items, the container with its compact design lets you carry it spontaneously.
Tips to be considered
- The safe temperature for the storage of hot food items for hours is more than 60 degree celsius.
- Cook the food or heat it just before you leave the home for the picnic spot.
- Make sure that you have warmed up meat or a large dish setting the oven at 93 degree celsius.
- Heat up your food items excessively. Keep it sit on the burner and let it be boiled like never before
- Try to arrange the picnic with many people. The reason is – the more volume of food you carry, the longer the heat will be preserved
- Keep the items covered to the maximum extent. Avoid checking them frequently, removing the cover.
- If you are using aluminium foil, use the thickest one. Remember the same for towels.
- In case you aren’t adopting a method that guarantees a long hour heat preservation, you should have the food as early as possible.
- Avoid having the food that has been left out to cool for two hours or more than that. Otherwise, you might be attacked with painful food poisoning.
Before you set out with friends or relatives to enjoy a soulful picnic, you must have sound knowledge on how to keep food warm for a picnic. In fact, you should also learn how to preserve cold food items. Otherwise, there remains a great possibility that the purpose of the picnic will partially be futile because food plays a major role in animating a picnic.