Fourth of July picnic

Fourth of July Picnic

Over the holiday weekend, many families will be packing a picnic to take to a family gathering or fun at a state park or the beach.  Take into consideration these ideas to make your picnic fun and food safe to eat.

1. Keep it Safe at the Plate

Avoid cross-contamination.   Place cooked meat, poultry and seafood on a clean

plate.  Never reuse disposable plates.

2. What's Hot, What's Not!

Rather than worry about keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, limit the

number of perishable foods on your menu, especially if you'll be at a picnic site

for several hours.

For example, serve potato chips instead of potato salad; washed whole fruit

(apples, oranges, bananas, plums, peach, etc.) instead of a cut-up fruit salad;

Cookies or brownies instead of a perishable cream-filled pie.

Be sure to try my yummy recipe for chocolate chip cookies at the end of these


3. Get a Handle on Hand washing

Unwashed hands are a prime cause of food borne illness.  Whenever possible, wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before handling food.  When eating away from home, pack disposable towelettes if no hand washing facilities are available.

4. Shower Power

Though only the inside of melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, etc.) is eaten, their outer rind still must be washed.  Bacteria present in the soil can contaminate the skin of the melon.  When the melon is cut, these bacteria are transferred to the part we eat and can grow to levels that cause food borne illness.

Give your melon a shower!  Wash the surface of melons thoroughly under clean, running water before eating them.

Cut melons on a clean cutting surface, using a clean knife.  If facilities for cleaning melons aren't available at the picnic site, wash and slice melons before leaving home.  Transport them to the site in an insulated cooler kept cold with ice or freezer gel packs.  Remove from the cooler just before serving them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Step 1:

  • 3 ¼ c. all- purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside until Step 4.

Step 2:

  • 1- 1/8 c. shortening
  • ¾ c. + 1/8 c. brown sugar
  • ¾ c. + 1/8 c. granulated sugar

Cream shortening with mixer at medium speed about 1 minute.  Gradually add sugars.  Mix at medium speed 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Scrape down bowl.

Step 3:

  • ½ c. eggs (2 ½ eggs)
  • 1 ½ tsp. warm water
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla

Combine slightly beaten eggs and water.  Add gradually to cream mixture.  Blend thoroughly about 1 minute.  Add vanilla.  Mix well.

Step 4:

Add dry ingredients.  Mix only until ingredients are combined, about 1 minute.

Step 5:

  • 1 lb. semisweet chocolate chips
  • May add ½ - 1 c. chopped nuts

Add chips (and nuts if desired).  Mix until evenly distributed.  Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased pan.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from baking sheet while still warm.

Bake in oven at 375° or convection oven at 350°.

For more information, contact:
Nancy A. Freeman, County Director
Harrison County Extension Service      (228) 865-4227