By Ms. Mary Michaela Parker, MSU Extension Service
Charcuterie boards are all the craze right now, and rightfully so! They’re fun to make and delicious to snack on. With the holidays coming up, they’re sure to be the talk of the party!
The word charcuterie means cured meat, including sausages and salami type foods. Cured meats are dry cured, so they are safe to eat without refrigeration or freezing.
Food safety shouldn’t be overlooked in all the excitement that comes with building a charcuterie board. When planning your board, consider these tips to make sure your board stays safe to eat:
Think about how long your board will be set out at room temperature. Some foods are safe to eat at room temperature, while perishable foods need to be tossed after two hours.
Crackers, dried fruits, breads, nuts, shelf-stable cured meats, and hard or semi-hard cheeses are safe to eat at room temperature and can be left out.
If you’re including dips and condiments in your board, consider placing them in small bowls or plates and frequently replace them. Be sure to wash the container before filling it back up!
Most vegetables and fruits are okay to be left at room temperature. Replace any melons, tomatoes, and leafy greens after two hours.
If you’re using refrigerated meats or soft cheeses, consider putting out small amounts at a time and replacing them frequently throughout the event.
Charcuterie boards are full of finger foods meant for snacking. Place toothpicks and tongs around the board to encourage people not to use their fingers. If you anticipate guests will grab food with their hands, encourage them to wash their hands before grabbing a treat.
If you want to learn more about charcuterie boards and how to arrange them, check out this post from our friends at University of Arkansas Extension!