For teas, picnics, watching the big game, and other events, sandwiches are an economical and time-saving option. Hostesses find sandwiches easy: they can be prepared ahead of time and laid out for guests to eat as they wish. Additionally, providing a variety of sandwiches allows you to cater to all of your guests' particular tastes. Unfortunately, sandwiches can spoil easily and, depending on the filling, the bread can become either soggy or dry if the sandwiches sit out for long periods of time. By choosing suitable sandwich types, avoid culinary disasters and possible incidents of food poisoning.
Nut and Bean
Sandwiches with nut butters, such as peanut butter or almond butter, or bean-based spreads, such as hummus, can be left unrefrigerated for longer than six hours. You can safely add jam, jelly or banana to the nut-butter sandwiches for additional variety. Spice up hummus sandwiches by adding fresh vegetables such as cucumber, radishes or bell pepper.
Some types of cheese sandwiches can sit out for several hours without becoming too dry or too moist. Choose semisoft or hard cheeses such as Muenster, cheddar, Colby or Asiago. These cheeses have low-moisture contents, which inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. These cheeses can be left unrefrigerated for six hours. Add a distinctive mustard, such has Dijon or honey mustard, to add some life to the sandwich.
While most meats will spoil in under two hours, salami and pepperoni can be left unrefrigerated for six hours because they contain nitrites. These nitrites act as preservatives and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. These meats go well with mustard.
If you want to serve meat sandwiches or sandwiches containing mayonnaise, do not let them sit out for more than two hours. In the summer, these sandwiches must not sit for more than one hour. After this time, harmful levels of bacteria that cause food poisoning will accumulate. Avoid preparing sandwiches with lettuce and tomato because they will cause the bread to become soggy. You can provide the lettuce and tomato on the side for your guests to add at the last minute. Keep your bread from drying out by spreading the condiments -- peanut butter, hummus or mustard -- to the edge and then cutting off the crusts.
- Val Hillers; How to Pack a Safe Lunch; September 2001
- Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education: Fruits and Vegetables
- "Everyday Food"; Martha Stewart; Radish Tea Sandwiches; May 2006
- Ellen's Kitchen: Plan Your Sandwich Event
- "Food Protection Trends"; Storage Temperatures Necessary to Maintain Cheese Safety; Jay Russell Bishop et al.; 2006
- Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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