Want to Know How To Prepare The Perfect Picnic?
It’s the perfect time for a picnic! Relax and enjoy the outdoors, great food and drinks with family and friends. The question is what to pack and how to prepare for the perfect picnic?
From the French for ‘piquenique’, the tradition of picnics, which means “a meal eaten outdoors”, dates back to the mid 18th century where French society would escape the mandates of formality and etiquette with more casual meals eaten outdoors. Picnics can be as simple or elaborate as you make them. A fresh loaf of bread, cheeses, charcuterie, fruits and a bottle of wine can be as perfect as a full spread of delicacies, salads, sandwiches and snacks.
International Picnic Day & National Picnic Day
On June 18th, the world observes International Picnic Day. On April 23rd, we celebrate National Picnic Day in the U.S. The origins of either food holiday are unknown, so you can honestly celebrate picnic day any day the weather is nice to eat outdoors. You can also easily spread a blanket in the middle of your living room and have an indoor picnic. The point is, just have fun with your picnic basket, family and friends!
Easy Entertaining Picnics
The phrase “it’s no picnic” suggests an activity is not enjoyable or easy. This is a firm indicator that picnics are intended to be fun and above all easy. But easy entertaining is not always as easy as it sounds. A few missteps in planning your menu or your set up and you can end up with nightmare experience
Here’s 9 tips on what to pack and what to skip in your picnic basket plus a few tricks for maximum outdoor dining enjoyment.
1. Keep it simple.
Finger foods, veggie crudite, charcuterie and cheeses, light dishes and layered salads work best. Avoid foods you need a fork and knife to eat. Whoever invented the spork, clearly had picnics in mind.
2. Use Mason Jars.
Mason jars have become a hipster trend but don’t poo poo them just yet. Mason jar salads transport well, with no mess and are easy to eat. No one likes soggy salads and wilted lettuce. You can also use mason jars for individual sized snacks and beverages. Look for mason jars filled with ready-made layered salads and refreshing juices at area gourmet markets (click here for 3 Markets in Orlando)
If you want to make mason jar salads at home, start by layering dressings and wet ingredients on the bottom. Then add hearty veggies, beans, pasta or grains. Finish with the lightest and most delicate ingredients on top like greens, fruits and seeds. Also remember, kale holds up better than iceberg and leaf lettuce in any picnic salad.
3. Skip Creamy Dressings.
Tread carefully with any item that requires refrigeration such as cream and dairy products. You want to keep these on ice to avoid any unfortunate foodborne illnesses. Vinaigrette or oil based dressings are a much better option for salads. Take the dressing in a bottle and dress your salad prior to serving to avoid wilting.
4. Choose the right cheese.
Cheese and crackers are easy for outdoor gatherings. Soft and semi-soft cheeses like brie, camembert and feta are easy to spread and eat while outdoors. Cheddar, American and other melting cheeses become oily in the heat so if you choose to serve them, keep them chilled.
5. Assemble Sandwiches Like a Pro.
Sandwiches are always fun and easy for picnics. But like salads, you don’t want soggy bread. Avoid wet fillings, mayo and mustard in pre-made sandwiches. Best to assemble when you reach your destination. Pack sliced deli meats and cheeses, prepared tuna or chicken salad in a plastic containers to spread on your baguette when you reach your destination.
6. Stay hydrated.
It’s easy to become dehydrated when spending time outdoors. Infused waters, fresh juices and lemonade are a great option. You can make your own with water bottles with an infusion chamber by adding fruits and herbs. Oranges, limes, lemons, berries, mint and basil are great options.Or check out your area’s markets for fresh pressed juices and infused waters ready to go.
7. Pack Healthy Snacks.
Eating healthy while on the road is a challenge. To keep from reaching for bags of chips, pack healthy snacks like a natural trail mix blend, and fruits with a peel, which won’t bruise easily. Think oranges, tangerines, and apples. Pre-Cut fruit in stackable containers work great too. Bring skewers and create your own kebabs. Energy boosting snacks are great to fuel long jaunts to your picnic destination too.
8. Beverages Done Right.
Portable is key when it comes to beverages. Refillable beer growlers, cans and wines with screw caps are easy to open so there is no need for an opener. Frozen grapes make great ice cubes in water, fruit juices, and light wines. Freeze water bottles to use as ice packs during the drive and to drink once there.
9. Don’t Forget Comfort and Clean Up.
Food and beverages are always at the top of the list but there are plenty of other items you shouldn’t forget to make your picnic much more enjoyable. Sunscreen and bug spray are the top two things that as soon as you arrive, you’ll wish you had packed. Avoiding a sunburn and insect bites will ensure a comfortable day.
When packing your bag or cooler, use stackable containers. Place heavy items on the bottom and soft /delicate items on top.
Don’t forget individual packs of seasonings, spices and condiments. A small mini bottle of hot sauce, seasoned salt and an herb blend mix are versatile. Avoid packing large bottles of condiments by putting a smaller amount in a small container.
A plastic shower curtain attached to the back side of your picnic blanket will prevent it from becoming damp on the grass or full of sand at the beach.
Don’t forget trash bags and paper towels for easy clean up. Leave your picnic area better than you found it.
What tips do you have to prepare an epic picnic?
Check out these 3 Orlando Markets in Orlando where you can easily create an epic picnic basket.
I hope I’ve inspired you to take time out of your busy schedule to go for a fun picnic with family and friends and Make Someday Happen.
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