The sun is up, and you’re looking forward to your next big catch. The birds surround you as if you’re in a scene from a sappy movie. You could have brought a special someone with you, but then you’d like to bask in the stillness and take in the sights alone. This is the time you’ve been waiting for.
The last thing you want is a foodborne illness to spoil the fun. [Check out HACCP Seafood]
USFDA Food Safety Education Staff Kathy Bernard warns boaters not to take any chances with soaking up the warm weather. “Too much sun on a hot day can make perishable food dangerous,” she said in her article on Foodsafety.gov.
So how does one manage to keep his catch of the day safe from bacteria that may cause food poisoning? Read on for a summary of Bernard’s tips below.
Bring a Cooler!
You won’t go wrong if you brought a cooler with you. Fill it with ice or frozen gel packs. Cooked meat, chicken and potato and pasta salad will spoil if left for more than two hours at room temperature. Keep them in water-tight container inside a cooler. Finally, keep the cooler out of direct sunlight.
Tips in Saving Up Space and Energy
Save up space by not putting everything inside a cooler. Take note that fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, canned meat spreads and peanut butter don’t have to be placed inside a cooler. But put perishables and leftovers back in the cooler to keep them from spoilage.
Now if you don’t have a cooler or would like to save space inside the cooler, freeze sandwiches beforehand. Make sure you use coarse bread for the sandwiches. Add the lettuce, tomato and mayo to the sandwich when you’re ready to serve it.
Keep food and drinks in separate coolers as much as possible.
Prepping Fish and Shellfish
Make sure to clean, scale and gut fish as soon as you caught them. If you have to wait out before you could get to shore, you can keep live fish on stringers or in live wells that are big enough to accommodate them. Wrap the fish, whole and clean in a tight plastic container and put inside the cooler. Make sure to sandwich the fish in layers of ice. When you arrive home, cook the fish within one to two days or freeze for three to six months.
As for prepping up the shellfish, remember that they should be kept alive until the minute you cook them. Put them in a laundry basket or bushel with seaweed once you’ve taken them out of water. As a reminder, make sure to cook mussels and clams in four to five days, and oysters in 7 to 10 days.
Before heading out for a fishing trip though, check with your local health department if it’s safe to fish in the location you’re headed. Enjoy!