Grilling season is picking up the pace. The warmer weather means more cookouts and picnics.
If you’re already cooking outside and serving hot dogs, here are some safety tips from University of Georgia Extension to keep in mind:
- A “sell by” date tells the store how long the hot dogs can be displayed for sale.
- A “use-by” date is the last date recommended for use while the hot dogs are at peak quality. It is determined by the manufacturer.
- A “best if used by (or before) date” helps consumers know a precise date for peak quality or flavor.
- An “expiration date” informs stores and shoppers the shelf-life or the last day the hot dogs should be used while wholesome.
- If no product date is on the package, hot dogs can be safely stored in the unopened package for two weeks at 40 degrees or below, and one week at the same temperature once the package has been opened.
- Place hot dogs immediately in a cooler or refrigerator at 40 degrees or below, or frozen, after purchase.
- Store hot dogs in the freezer for no longer than one to two months.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure hot dogs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees or cook until steaming hot throughout.
- Wash hands, surfaces and utensils after handling packaged hot dogs.
- Keep packaged hot dogs and juices separate from other foods, utensils and food preparation and serving surfaces.
- Never leave hot dogs or any perishable foods at room temperature for more than two hours; one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or higher.
- Refrigerate or place leftover hot dogs in a cooler at 40 degrees or below.
- Remember when in doubt, throw them out.
May is National Strawberry Month and you don’t have to go far to celebrate.
The second annual Strawberry Festival is less than a month away at Jaemor Farms, just north of Gainesville in Alto.
The event is scheduled for May 9 and will feature farm tours, a petting zoo, strawberry cookoff and more. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit www.jaemorfarms.com for more details on vendor and cookoff applications as well as additional activities and updates.
Strawberries are key ingredients in the UGA Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Program “Fruity Parfait” recipe. The colorful and tasty dessert includes vanilla or plain yogurt and toasted oats cereal.
Why are plain strawberries a great snack option or topping for your pancakes or cereal?
They’re fat-free, low in calories and they’re a good source of folic acid, potassium and fiber, reports UGA Extension.
Plus, eight medium-sized strawberries contain 160 percent of the U.S. recommended daily amount for Vitamin C.
Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Extension office in Hall County. Call her at 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.