With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to plan a picnic. I love dining alfresco when the weather is nice, from the park to the beach to my own backyard. So today I’m sharing a few tips to make your picnic perfect.
While you can have a picnic practically anywhere, your choice of setting will set the tone and determine what exactly you bring along. Consider the following… Will you be hiking to a picturesque spot surrounded by nature? If so, you will want to pack a lighter load for the trek in. Will you be dining in a park with wooden picnic benches? You can skip the blanket in that case. Are you packing a picnic for an outdoor concert or movie? Make sure they allow glassware at the venue.
First of all, you’ll need a few tools to cobble together your perfect picnic. Whether you’ve got a pre-made picnic basket kit or carry everything in a backpack, planning ahead with the right picnic paraphernalia will let you relax and enjoy the outing a little easier. Bringing disposal silverware and cups may be the easiest way to maximize your meal. Next, you’ll need to bring something for your guests to sit on while they are enjoying your lovely company. Mats, blankets, towels, and tablecloths are ideal. Sitting on the grass may work out if you can’t carry too much to your outing. Of course, if your venue has picnic tables and benches, you won’t have to bother with makeshift seats.
For a picnic, foods that travel well are a must. Think perfect mini picnic sandwiches, pasta salad, or hearty greens like kale that don’t wilt in the heat. Fresh fruit is another good choice, along with a selection of cheese and charcuterie. And don’t forget a thermos full of floral infused lemonade or iced tea You may also consider packing two containers – one for non-perishable items and utensils and another container for cold foods and beverages.
A neat little trick is to wrap your sandwiches in parchment paper. This way the sammies won’t stick to their wrapper as you nosh on your portable panini or chicken salad sandwich. Being part Korean, my mom used to pack little sushi-like concoctions called gimbap on our outdoor summer outings. Gimbap, which literally means “seaweed rice” forgoes the rice vinegar of Japanese sushi for sesame oil. The sliced rolls of fresh veggies swaddled in seaweed makes for fun finger food during warm weather excursions. Just pair your gimbap with a tupperware tub of kimchi for a refreshing and traditional Korean picnic experience.
If you planned your picnic properly, the dreaded clean-up will be as easy as apple pie (which would also make a great dessert at the end!). Try to think ahead about your location’s amenities such as access to restrooms, where the garbage bins are, and if you can recycle any of your trash. Bring along large zip lock bags in case you need to bring home some supplies such as utensils, plates, and cups.