Ideas for keeping food cold?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by eastshores, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. eastshores

    eastshores

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    I am throwing a birthday party for my dad on the 17th of this month. I've done some BBQ's in the past, and what not and the only way I could try to keep the larger cold dishes (coleslaw, potato salad, etc) cold was to get plastic trays and fill them with ice around the aluminum pans containing the food. In the Florida summer this works well for about 30 minutes. The ice melts far too quickly without insulation.

    So I am looking for ideas, or even knowledge of products that I could purchase that would handle keeping a cold dish insulated. I am willing to spend a fair amount if the product is something that would last me years as I enjoy having gatherings.

    Searching google for cold storage, cold serving, etc. it seems the spectrum goes from tiny little single serve containers for 10.00 and jumps straight to professional catering cold storage boxes that run 400.00 (and aren't what I want anyway)

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. If I could find simple coolers that were shaped as flat and long with a lid allowing good access that would probably work great. Probably for good reasons most coolers are tall.
     
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I can mentally picture what you have in mind, Eastshores, but have never seen anything like it.

    That said, what's wrong with shallow coolers. I know that Coleman, for instance, makes one about 13 inches tall that will accomodate a hotel pan easily. Will it to the appropriate height with ice, set the pan of coleslaw or whatever into the ice, and close the lid.

    Personally, I see no problems with having a cooler lid in place. It's simple enough for folks to open the lid and serve themselves---no different than if they were fishing for a pop or other beverage. Plus, of course, the coolers are self-draining, so the pan never sits in melted water. 

    If this sounds doable, let me know and I'll check the exact size of the cooler I'm talking about.

    BTW, ice heavily mixed with salt stays colder longer. So you might consider that as an option too. It's the same mixture used when super-cooling fish.
     
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  3. eastshores

    eastshores

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    That sounds perfect KYH .. I was imagining something like that but when I was looking at coolers online it seemed most were shallow and tall. Even that *could* work if I moved food out of a larger cooler into the serving coolers. Thanks for the info.
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    A couple of ordinary Coleman or Coleman type, insulated plastic chests should do you fine. Get as many as you think you'll frequently use, including at least one with wheels. You'll use that one a lot.

    Get foam chests for the rest.

    Make sure you have at least one chest just for ice. Depending on your "event" you may need more. b

    It doesn't have to say "Cambro" to work. Nor, for that matter, does it have to say Coleman.

    Insulated chests keep stuff ice cold (as long as you use sufficient ice) overnight at least.

    Pack your stuff in large plastic containers, and put them in the chests.

    On site, serve onto trays set in ice -- and when the ice melts refresh it. When the food on the trays runs out and needs to be refilled, refill it.

    That's how caterers do, and you can too.

    BDL
     
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  5. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    One key is to make sure everything is COLD before putting it in the cooler(s)!

    As BDL said, store in containers. not what you will be serving in.

    It also helps if the cooler(s) are cool/cold before loading them up with food and ice. I've left them in the walk-in overnight for that purpose.
     
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  6. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Thanks for the additional suggestions. I understand placing containers into ice, but that is what I've done in the past and it does not work as well as it sounds. I would think that caterers have particular styles of containers that are insulated no? I mean a simple rubbermaid plastic container with ice in it in the Florida summer doesn't last long at all. That is what I've done in the past.

    I do think that small coolers will work great for my purpose (not really concerned about appearance as a caterer would be). The lid will keep flies out and help keep the cooler insulated further. I'll just make sure that I have them situated at an easily accessible height so you just open the lid, scoop out your desired amount, and close it back. I can tape some labels on the lid so people know what's inside. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

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    First make sure everything in your alum trays is ice cold

    Before the buffet starts  put 2 or 3 large 5 or 6 inch hi  plastic trays filled with ice on the buffet then place alum containers in it pushed into ice. Sought of like a steamtable but filled with ice. These plastictrays are available in Lowes and home depot. Ice will melt and then turn to ice water which will also help keep cold. Then siph off water and add more ice. I have done many gigs like this and I to am in Florida. This way unsightly cooler is not on table and no lids to fool around with. Hotels use fancy plastic ice  pans, but they are expensive and made of lexan. They are also used for ice carvings. These trays can actually be put on the buffet table and put ferns around them to hide edges. Also a bit of Kosher salt  sprinkled  on top of ice even keeps food colder. You can even put a block or 2 of dry ice underneith the regular ice it will keep longer.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
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