Tuesday's Tip: Cool on the go

March 29,2011
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

I often find myself out running errands, making several stops to multiple stores before returning home.  Can you relate?  While I can sometimes plan my trip in an order to make my last stop the one where I pick up food, I have a great tip so you’re able to pick up something perishable in the middle of a busy errand-running day.

When the weather gets warm, and even on not-so-warm days, you need a safe way to store anything that is perishable, especially frozen items.  Of course, ideally you would pick up frozen items and return home immediately, but that is not always convenient.

I have three things I use to make sure picking up food is convenient.  For those “oh, I need to pick up this unexpected refrigerated or fresh item,” moments, I keep a cooler bag in my car trunk.  It folds like any reusable bag, but has a special lining to keep things cold.  A cooler bag takes up almost zero space, and it allows for food to stay cool and fresh for a longer amount of time.  Our cooler bag is permanently stored in my trunk so I am never without it when I am running errands.  You can purchase one at almost any grocery store for just a couple dollars.

If I’ll be out running errands for a good part of the day or if I know a trip to the grocery is on my list of things to do, I grab our medium size hard cooler.  This cooler has enough room for a couple of gallons of milk, or several cold or frozen items.  It is able to keep food cold more efficiently than the cooler bag, and gives me more time before I need to come home.

The third item I use to help me with errand running is a blue ice cold pack or multiple packs.  Especially useful for when I am picking up frozen items, the combination of the cold packs and the cooler give me several hours worth of time before I must return home to store the cold food items.

Today’s Tuesday’s Tip:  just a bit of simple forethought before you run errands will help you feel like an errand-running pro.

SPC