Barbecuing in the summer

Be sure to know proper cooking temperatures, how long to keep leftovers and how long you can leave food out after cooking it.

Here are some of the numbers to keep in mind when you’re cooking food for your picnic or backyard gathering this summer.

40 to 140 degrees F: The temperature range, in Fahrenheit, that represents the “danger zone” in which bacteria can grow in perishable foods.

• 3 minutes: The minimum amount of time you should allow meat to rest after cooking and before carving or consuming.

Minimum internal cooking temperatures:

Fresh pork, ham, beef, pork, veal and lamb: 145 F, as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source.

Reheating precooked ham: 140 F.

Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck or goose, whole or pieces): 165 F.

Ground beef, pork, veal and lamb: 160 F.

Ground turkey or chicken: 165 F.

Egg dishes, such as frittata and quiche: 160 F.

Leftovers, casseroles: 165 F.

Fish: 145 F; fish should be opaque and separate easily with a fork.

Other seafood, such as scallops, lobster and crab: Cook until flesh is pearly or white, and opaque.

Clams, oysters, mussels: Cook until shells open during cooking.

2 hours: Maximum amount of time you should leave perishable food out before refrigerating it, or putting it in a cooler with ice or ice packs, if the temperature outside is below 90 degrees.

• 1 hour: Maximum time you should leave perishable food out if the temperature outside is 90 degrees or above.

• 20 seconds: Minimum amount of time you should wash your hands, with soap and water as hot as you can stand, before handling food.

• 3 to 4 days: The amount of time leftovers can safely be kept in the refrigerator.

• 3 to 4 months: The amount of time frozen leftovers can stay in the freezer; after that time, they can start losing moisture and flavor.

Sources: Penn State Extension and the U.S. agriculture department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (