Spring and summer parties and outings are great fun, made better by taking along icy treats. Maintaining cold treats on warm days can be a challenge, but there are smart ways to keep your cool and be sure that your snacks are chilling out!
Pack a cooler with lots of ice or use freezer cold packs. You can even save some money and make your own cold pack by freezing bottles of water or cans of soda and juice. Frozen solid, they'll keep cold and firm for a very long time. Pack your treats with newspaper for extra insulation, and be sure that there's plenty of ice or freezer packs surrounding them. As the liquid in the bottles and cans starts to melt, you'll have the bonus of frosty cold beverages to quench your thirst. Be sure that you freeze more than you'll need for sipping so there will be packs left to surround and cool your perishables.
The less often you open the cooler, the colder your items will stay. Don't keep peeking! It lets in heat and allows the cold to escape.
Place the treat in a plastic bag, then insert that bag into a larger one filled with cold water. Make sure that both bags are tightly sealed. Freeze the bags, and your treat will be embedded in a solid block of ice. The ice in the outside bag will slowly defrost and the water can be drained off. The frozen treat will remain intact and will stay cold for several hours. The bagged treat can also be frozen in a snap-top container using the same method.
You can toss the bags into an insulated carrier to take along on an outing. Delay the ice melting by tucking the carrier in a cold stream or pond while you hike and fish. Just make sure the bags aren't placed where they could float away!
No cooler? Get an oblong plastic bin deep enough to put ice on the bottom. Store your treats in smaller plastic containers that can be nestled on top of the ice. Cover with more ice, and snap on the lid to keep the cold inside.
Keep your coolers and insulated bags out of the sun when you're outdoors. Even on warm days, the ice or freezer packs will last more than three or four hours if placed in a shady spot away from direct sunlight.
When entertaining on the patio, use large metal bowls filled with ice and nest smaller bowls holding the treats into them. If kept out of direct sun, the offerings will stay very cold. Replenish the ice if necessary.
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