How to Pack the Perfect Picnic
What could be more pleasant on a warm, sunny day than a picnic? It celebrates the English summertime at its best. But there are picnics and then there are truly memorable picnics! Packing the right combination can make all the difference – Jasper’s Catering Services
Picnics are a truly wonderful way to enjoy great food with friends and loved ones, but beyond the company you keep, the key to having a great feast in the sun is knowing what to bring. Just which foods, utensils, and other items do you need to pack into the car before arriving at your chosen picnic destination? There are all kinds of options, depending on your preferences, but to help you make the right decision, we have put together the below guide on how to pack the perfect picnic.
Before you can do anything, you will need to acquire ourselves a nice roomy picnic hamper or basket to store all of our desired food and drinks. You will want enough space to store everything, something easy to carry, and sturdy enough to protect delicate nibbles. If you really want that traditional look, then the picnic hampers from Somerset Willow are absolutely ideal for your summer’s day out.
The most essential item of any picnic is of course the food, and sandwiches are a staple in this regard. With the sheer variety of sandwiches that are possible to make, this really is the perfect picnic food, providing something for everyone. From ham, egg, and cheese, to beef, chicken, turkey and more, no matter how fussy your children are, or whoever it is you are picnicking with, a nice variety of sandwiches should have them covered.
Make sure to pack sandwiches in lightweight, re-sealable containers, or wrap them in some cling film to keep it all fresh.
Pies are certainly a shrewd addition to any picnic hamper. Much like the aforementioned sandwiches, great variety is available here with apple, custard, fruit, and pecan being just some of many great choices. The whole family will certainly be leaving the picnic area with full stomachs if these were to be a part of your menu.
Finger foods & the classics
Catering experts Jasper’s know a thing or two about picnics, and luckily for all of us, they are on hand to offer some fantastic advice.
“Some things are favourites for a reason: people love them! Don’t let your guests down by leaving out the classics: scotch eggs, mini pies, pickles and cheese, chicken drumsticks, freshly cut filled sandwiches or rolls, and scones with jam and clotted cream are some items at the top of the list amongst picnic goers, so keep your hungry guests happy by including (at least some of!) these.”
“Not everybody on a picnic wants to indulge themselves,” says Jasper’s. “So include salad pots (eg Greek salad or tuna nicoise) for those that don’t want to eat bread or pastry, and fresh strawberries or fruit salad as well cream cakes for dessert options.”
Salads are a wonderful choice for a picnic, providing not only a healthy and vegetarian option for those who want it, but they will also hold up particularly well in transit when tucked away in your Ford Car. To keep things as fresh and as tasty as possible, try bringing along your salad dressing to drizzle on just before you eat.
Cakes and other delicious – but perhaps not so healthy – treats are a must for a perfect picnic. The kids will love having a chocolate brownie or slice of shortbread to scoff down after the more nutritional foods. Picnics are a treat after all, so allowing yourself to indulge your sweet tooth is more than warranted.
Jasper’s also stress the importance of keeping your picnic cool, as the last thing you will want when unloading your basket is to find that your food has spoiled and cold items have gone warm.
“It’s really important for safety reasons that your picnic is kept cool, particularly if it includes meat and dairy items and you are not going to be eating it straight away. Jasper’s Picnics come packed in insulated bags on request, to keep food fresh and cool. If you are packing your own, use a cool box and ice packs.”
Speaking of keeping things cool, if you are really worried about storing all your deliciously prepared food at a nice cold temperature, then packing it all into a cool bag is a smart choice indeed. And if you’re concerned about things getting damaged during the drive over, cool boxes provide a sturdy and secure structure to protect all that’s kept within.
Think of the kids
Maria, of the parenting blog Suburban Mum, has some great tips for those looking to pack the perfect picnic, particularly as it pertains to those where the kids have come along.
She says, “This means packing lots of snacks because they are constantly hungry. Things like fruit bars, crisps and bread sticks are great and means you can hand these out without having to dip into your actual picnic and save them from eating their lunch before midday!”
Maria also talks about the importance of staying hydrated, “this is very important for kids who are always on the go and especially on a hot day too. I tend to pack bottles of iced water as well as juice cartons.
“My most important tip is probably to always have ice packs in the freezer, that way if you decide to have an impromptu picnic you’ll be able to keep it cool!”
What good is all this delicious food without something nice and refreshing to wash it down with? Make sure to bring along your beverages of choice – flasks of squash for the kids, and tea for the adults will certainly go down a treat. Fizzy drinks will be wanted by some but just be aware of opening cans that have been rattling about during your drive.
Cups and plates
Food – check. Drink – check. Now don’t forget the plates, napkins, cutlery and seating arrangements (chairs or waterproof-backed blanket) to make your picnic a civilised affair! – Jasper’s.
Jasper’s warn all picnic goers not to forget the important accessories. Some plates and cups from which to eat and drink should most definitely make an appearance. You can certainly get by with just your hands but having some paper/plastic cups and plates (like these from Party Delights), or even some more traditional dishes to offer, will surely be appreciated by your picnic companions.
If you have some food items that need serving or cutting up before enjoying, then having some utensils packed away in your hamper is essential. Plastic knifes and forks are an option but you will probably be better off bringing something a little sturdier that you can simply pack back away and use again another time.
Make sure to bring a cutting knife along should you have any bread or cheese that needs slicing. You can get away with just a bog-standard table knife but make things easier for yourself with something a little bit more efficient. Just remember to keep sharp items away from hungry hands. Try and find a blade with a sheath to ensure safety.
If you’re going to be serving cheese during your picnic, remember to bring along a cutting board to make slicing easier on yourself. This is also great for cutting up any meat and bread that you have brought along.
Should you be serving some bottles of beer for the non-drivers, or if you need to open other refreshments that are secured with caps and corks, you will be well served by bringing along a bottle opener and corkscrew.
Napkins and Paper towels
Of course a little cleanliness will go a long way on your day in the sun, so make sure to bring along plenty of napkins and paper towels. It’s always good to have something to wipe hands on and to mop up any sticky messes that are made. They are particularly important should children be in your company.
Wherever you are planning on having your picnic, be it a park or secluded wood, be sure not to leave a mess behind. You can enjoy your day out while being considerate of others around you and the environment you’re in, so make sure to pack some bin bags to dispose of all your unwanted waste.
Of course, no picnic would be complete without a nice comfy blanket to sit on. Make sure you pack one big enough for all those in attendance, while taking into consideration that your basket and food will require a certain amount of room as well. This blanket from Picnicware would certainly meet requirements, and even folds up nice and neatly with a convenient carry handle.
For all your thirst quenching drinks you would like to bring, having a suitable container in which to store them is paramount. Not only will children’s drinks bottles be a sensible move, but you won’t want to let your own hot drinks go to waste without a good thermos to keep them warm.
Have a contingency plan if rain stops play
The last piece of advice from Jasper’s regards always having a backup plan if the weather should turn against you.
“The idea of a picnic is a wonderful thing but in England we are sadly all too dependent on the weather! If the sun lets you down, make sure your picnic is easily transportable to somewhere with a roof!