The Tasty Bits Blog

Jun 11, 2014

Safe Summer Grocery Shopping

Food and Health  ·  

It seems every week we hear heartbreaking stories of a dog or a child left in a car in a parking lot somewhere, eventually rescued by police or EMS. In case you’ve forgotten since last summer your car gets hot, very hot, easily topping 50C in as little as 10 minutes. That intense heat has bad effects on what’s in your car, such as CD’s, water bottles, cell phone batteries but most importantly for your health, your groceries.

My summer shopping plan is a simple one, when I buy groceries, it’s either the last stop on my list of errands of things to do that day, or it’s the only stop I’ll make on that trip. I don’t want my items in the car for any length of time. I like to go shopping in the morning, never after 11am; not only is the sun not as hot, but the store isn’t as busy, the fresh stuff is on the shelves and it gives me the rest of the day to do my prep.

I always shop in the summer with a cooler, ice packs and insulated bags. While it’s not as easy as using the reusable grocery bags I know it’s the best plan for the summer, especially when the car heats up so fast.  Not only does it ensure that very expensive groceries stay in top condition, but I find that the re-packing into my coolers acts like a second checklist, just in case I missed something.

I like to pack the frozen and delicate items (meats, fruits, etc.) in the cooler first, topping with ice packs. Not only do the frozen items also act as ice packs too, but keeping all the cold items together will help them to retain their chill for an extra few hours, just in case you get delayed in traffic or have a breakdown.

 

Next, I keep all the items together that need to be cold, but are a bit more hardy, and those go in a soft shelled cooler bag with a ice pack or two as well. While not as cold as the cooler is, there is more than enough chill present to keep the goods fresh for an hour or two, which ordinarily is sufficient time to get home and unpack.

 

 

 

Lastly, I don’t usually chill the hardiest items even on the hottest days, since my food items will be in the car for no more than an half an hour, an hour at most. Things like citrus, potatoes and bread are fine for a short timeframe. These groceries are the first to be unloaded when I get home; the other stuff will keep fine for 5 minutes longer.

Summer is short, so get out and enjoy it. With a bit of planning and common sense, it can be safe too…

 

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