Pack a Picnic and Get Outside

In my experience, simple is best when dining al fresco - think finger foods and store-bought shortcuts and prep as much as you can at home. After dining in parks, botanical gardens and beaches, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.

While living in England, I learned three essential things: how to talk about the weather, how to properly prepare tea and how to pack a picnic.Whenever the weather permitted, my family and I had a picnic. Everyone did. From children’s birthday celebrations to family reunions to cozy couples on dates, no one picnics better than the English.

After dining al fresco in parks, botanical gardens and beaches around England, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.

Easy to Make, Easy to Eat

Simple is best for picnics. I opt for mostly finger foods, make some/buy some and prep as much as I can at home. I promise no one ever complains if the picnic basket just contains these tasty basics:

  • Freshly baked baguette

  • Cheeses (try raw-milk cheeses!)

  • Sliced meats

  • Fresh fruit and cut veggies

  • Chilled drinks (water or Honest Tea Lemonade)

Extras that Make Picnics Extra Special

Bonuses like homemade salsa and Late July Organic Tortilla Chips, popcorn, brownie bites or cookies, a canteen of cold-brewed coffee opens in a new tab or a bottle of a summery sparkler opens in a new tab are always appreciated. If you have a bit more time, a quiche, grain salad and single-serve jars of summer fruit parfaits can make yours the best picnic in the park.

BLT Deviled Eggs

Explore our recipe collection for picnics and camping opens in a new tab for ideas or give these a try:

How about a meal on a stick? Grab some skewers, thread on your favorite combos and serve with dips such as balsamic vinegar, guacamole or hummus for the ultimate in hand-held meals. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Club Sandwich Kabobs
  • Caprese = basil + grape tomatoes + fresh mozzarella

  • Chicken Fajita = grilled chicken + romaine lettuce + chopped bell peppers + cherry tomatoes + cheese cubes

  • Club = toasted bread cubes + ham slices + turkey slices + cheese cubes + pickles + cherry tomatoes

  • Mediterranean = olive + toasted pita pieces + cucumber + sun-dried tomatoes

Or challenge your picnic pals to a potluck picnic theme. Brunch? Foods that start with the letter C? Desserts at dusk, anyone?
Packing Tips

With enough notice, you can freeze drinks that are not in glass containers. They’ll stay cold and serve as ice packs for your food. In addition to blankets, napkins, utensils and cups, don’t forget about the cleanup. Pack a trash bag for garbage, an extra bag for recyclables and hand sanitizer.

Think beyond the meal. A soccer ball, Frisbee, kite, bubbles and sidewalk chalk will keep the adventure going.

Picnic aficionados: let’s pack a (virtual) potluck picnic! What would you bring?

Share in the comments section below.

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