The Clever Hack That Will Keep Your Appetizers Cool And Photogenic

For cold-weather gatherings, you may have your tips and tricks for keeping any food you're serving hot, such as keeping it in a chafing dish or Crock-Pot while your guests are enjoying what you've whipped up. In hot weather, though, the focus shifts entirely, and you need to find ways to keep what you're serving cold. And while food that has cooled slightly may not be as tasty, it won't hurt your guests (unless, that is, you leave it out for hours and hours). In hot weather, though, it's critical to keep your foods properly chilled to avoid the risk of food-borne illness.

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture explains, in particularly hot temperatures, such as those above 90 F, perishable foods should only be out for about an hour if they're not chilled in some way. Given that many hosts love to have appetizers out for much longer than that so guests can nibble away as they chat and enjoy the summer weather, it's essential to have a few tips and tricks to keep those appetizers cool so your guests can safely enjoy them.

Taste of Home has a clever hack that requires just two simple ingredients and will keep whatever you're serving at a safe temperature. And as a bonus, it'll make all your appetizers look Instagram-ready. Plus, the clean-up is a breeze, which is always a plus for summer gatherings.

Serve your food on ice — with some modifications

Once you've prepared your appetizers of choice, all you need to do, per Taste of Home's hack, is grab a bowl (or whatever serving vessel you prefer), a resealable bag of crushed ice, and some lettuce leaves. Plop the bag of ice into your vessel as a cooling base. To make it look more visually appealing than appetizers floating atop a slowly melting plastic-encased bag of ice, cover the ice with a layer of lettuce so you have a vibrant green base instead.

This hack is cost-effective and could work for whatever serving vessel you want — you can use as few or as many bags of ice as needed to fill your vessel and top it with whatever type of lettuce leaves you have on hand.

If you prefer a more streamlined look and a smoother base, Something Swanky has a TikTok-approved summer food hack that involves freezing a layer of water in a disposable aluminum pan and then covering the ice with another pan filled with your appetizers. As with the crushed ice hack, this means your food will be consistently chilled from beneath. The pan will serve the role the resealable bag does in the crushed ice trick, ensuring your food doesn't become soggy as the ice melts.