Tip: Edible ice packs
Packing lunches in such a way that the food stays fresh and safe is important for all of us, but the feeling of responsibility is especially strong when you’re packing for someone else. I’m willing to take minor food safety risks with my own lunches, but don’t ever want my son to get sick because I packed his lunch unwisely. As part of an earlier post on food safety for packed lunches, I recommended keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, using thermal jars and cold packs. Today’s tip is a delicious variation on the standard ice pack.
You’ve probably heard of the standard Mommy trick of freezing a bottle of water or juice, and packing that inside an insulated lunch box. It melts by lunchtime, keeps the lunch cool, provides a drink, and lightens the load on the way home. Similarly, you can freeze canned fruit or fruit cocktail in little lidded containers (details here), or take it a step further by freezing pre-packaged jellies or puddings. I froze all of the puddings/jellies in the photo above and did a taste test, and there were no ill effects on taste or texture. Hey, think of Bill Cosby’s pudding pops — same concept. The tiniest pudding cups (as above) can be packed right inside of a bento lunch, or you can make your own in small lidded condiment cups (like the ones I used for jello fruit cups) that are cheap and widely available at restaurant supply stores. Get creative — make your own frozen treat, and share your brilliance with us in comments!
(Shown in photo: Chinese Lychee pudding, mango pudding, Kiku brand “Petit Pudding”, and canned Thai fruit cocktail.)
- Freeze canned fruit in little containers, use as an ice pack
- Hot vs. cold lunch packing considerations
- Food safety for packed lunches
- Biggie’s list of Top Speed Tips, tutorials and equipment reviews
- Read other Lunch in a Box posts about freezing