If you are one of those who does not collapse in the summer heat and you want to take advantage of these months beyond the afternoons on the terrace and the movies, why not go on excursions with friends or family, or take a short getaway? with your partner? There is nothing like a good picnic in the open air next to the river or enjoying the views from the top of a mountain (and there are countless charming places throughout the Peninsula less than an hour away by car that we are completely unaware of), but if we want everything to be perfect and our food arrives fresh and our drinks cold until lunchtime, we will have to prepare our fridge with some head.
“It can’t be that hard… it’s putting the food and drink in the fridge and putting some ice in it, right?”
If we think like this, it is that we have not given the matter a couple of turns, and when we are eating a warm summer salad and a beer or a seasonal soda and we want to solve it with an extra bag of ice at the last minute, it will occur to us that there is another way. By doing research on the subject and trying a couple of tricks we have compiled some of the best techniques so that everything arrives fresh at our destination, so before we are immersed in the season of getaways and excursions, read our little guide to being able to enjoy a perfect day outdoors.
choose a fridge
Renew your fridge. Thermal insulation technology has come a long way in recent years, and manufacturers are now achieving incredible results that our 20-year-old cooler cannot compete with. Brands like Yeti, Orion, and Pelican make some of the most advanced and reliable coolers on the market, and they’ll ensure your food and drink hold up well throughout your day outdoors. If you want to make the investment to open the season but do not want to pull your savings, you can always turn to companies that offer quick money.
Depending on how many people you are in the group or your budget, it might not be a bad idea to use two refrigerators to separate food and drink. Why? The one that we dedicate to drink will open and close more times than the one for food, and therefore it will lose its cold more quickly. Digging through all the food to get a can from the bottom of the fridge is not only a nuisance, but an unnecessary waste of the fridge’s cold. If you have the option, investing in a second fridge (somewhat smaller perhaps) will help keep your most perishable items cool until mealtime.
Preparation of the fridge
If you keep the fridge in a garage or a storage room, where it is usually a little hotter, bring it home at least one day before your getaway. We are interested that the temperature of the refrigerator is as cold as possible and that it is in optimal conditions for its use. Since it most likely wasn’t done when you got back from your last excursion, take care to clean it well with disinfectant and water to ensure your food and drink are safe throughout the day.
Once this is done, about 12 hours before leaving, cool the fridge with tap water and a couple of ice packs so that you leave the house ready. Throw out that water just before you start to fill it with whatever you need.
To save space in your fridge, the best thing you can do is prepare your food realistically and with anticipation. If, for example, you need to bring condiments or sauces, take the amount you need instead of taking the entire can. The less space the food takes up in the fridge, the more space we have for ice. Along the same lines, remove all the packaging of the products that you do not need (and that will later be less waste that you take to the field) and try to transfer the ingredients of your food to tupperware or hermetic bags that on the one hand will allow you to save enough space and on the other they will guarantee that your food is well protected from ice and drink.
For the rest, try to keep everything that needs refrigeration in the fridge at home until you leave, and what can hold up well at room temperature take it out of the fridge so as not to waste energy in the fridge on products that do not need refrigeration.
choice of ice
The best option for the bottom of the fridge is a large block of ice or reusable ice packs. The less fragmented the ice is, the longer it will take to melt and the better it will maintain the temperature of our fridge. Place the block at the bottom and fill it with drink and food from there. And if you don’t have freezer bags or blocks of ice, fill water bottles (leaving ¼ empty for the ice to expand) in the freezer and you’ve got yourself a decent (and inexpensive) fix.
Ice cubes melt faster than block ice but are perfect for filling the gaps between food and drink in your fridge, so pair them with bottom ice for the perfect day out.
fill the fridge
Worry that filling the fridge with ice, food and drink is the last thing you do before leaving home. By this we mean that it is convenient to wait until everything else is well prepared to put the fridge in the car.
On top of the large block of ice, place the food in reverse order of consumption (at the bottom the last thing you will eat during the trip and at the top the first) and avoid as much as possible large air gaps inside the fridge, since the air It is the main cause of the ice melting faster.
Place any product that can be spilled in a vertical position, and place breakfast and dinner (for example, one on the left and one on the right) on different sides of the fridge so you don’t have to dig around when it’s time to open it.
some good ideas
- Transport: when you load the car, try to take the fridge inside with you instead of putting it in the trunk where it will surely be hotter.
- Find a hole in the shade for the fridge at all times: under the picnic table, next to a log… it is about avoiding any unnecessary loss of cold from our fridge. If there is no shady corner, a damp towel on top of the fridge will help us.
- Try to keep the fridge closed as long as you don’t have to take something out of it, since the main reason why the cold is lost is the frequency with which the inside of the fridge is exposed to the outside temperature.
- Another of the big mistakes when it comes to keeping the cold inside the fridge is to empty the ice that has been melting: contrary to what it may seem, it is better to leave it inside. On the one hand, because of what we explained about keeping the fridge closed; and on the other, because cold water is better than outside air.
We hope these tips help you enjoy your picnic day.