Bust the Myth: Leave Food Outside to Keep it ColdMany people do not have enough space to store all of the food they are preparing for a big family dinner. So they resort to leaving food out on counters, in garages, or even outside in the cold. If you have snow, you may think outside is a perfect idea. Most of the time we do not have snow, but it may be as cold as a refrigerator. At first glance, this seems food safe because it’s below freezing outside or snow is ice.
Fact: Storing food outside isn’t safeThere are two reasons why storing food outside is a bad idea:
- Animal contamination. Animals, both wild and domesticated, can get into food stored outside, consuming it or contaminating it.
- Temperature variation. Just like your car gets warm in the summer, a plastic food storage container in the sun can heat up and climb into the danger zone (between 40°F - 140°F). The best way to keep that extra food at a safe temperature (below 40°F) is in a cooler/ice chest with ice. Be sure to replace the ice as it melts.
This information can be helpful for thawing out a turkey that you do not have room for in your refrigerator. Remember it takes several days to safely thaw a turkey in the refrigerator, which does not leave you much room for other food. Do not leave a turkey out on the counter or cold garage. You may use an ice chest with ice or look for future tips with other options.