21 Tips for a Perfect Picnic (Number 9 Is Genius!)
When you do it right, every picnic can be easy, fun and effortless. Before you head out into the sunshine, follow these handy tips to simplify packing, safeguard your food, and add a dash of fun to an outing your whole family will enjoy.
1. Instead of filling a cooler with ice, freeze a few bottles of water the night before. Not only will they keep your food cold and fresh, they’ll also provide refreshing ice water as they melt.
2. Pack casual handheld food, like sandwiches and wraps. The more finger foods you bring, the less silverware and plates you’ll have to lug around.
3. Avoid bringing foods that contain mayonnaise or dairy products, which can quickly spoil in hot weather.
4. No-fuss desserts like cookies and brownies are best. Avoid desserts with frosting, which can melt in the sun.
5. For an upscale touch, ditch the same old boring plastic cups for shatterproof wine glasses with removable stems.
6. Leave the full-size condiment bottles at home. Bring ketchup, mustard, and other condiments in small convenient squeeze bottles.
7. Keep pasta salads and other dishes cool by packing the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice.
8. Bring salt and pepper packets instead of shakers.
9. Instead of a blanket, pack a tablecloth. It’s lighter, easier to pack, and much easier to wash.
10. Bring a citronella candle to help keep flying pests at a safe distance.
11. Don’t forget to pack hand wipes or baby wipes for a tidy cleanup. Also perfect for wiping down utensils and dishes before you pack up.
12. Also bring along a few trash bags to make cleanup a snap, so you don’t leave a mess behind.
13. Bring a shade umbrella to keep the sun off of your picnic. Sunburn is never any fun.
14. Use a backpack. A traditional picnic basket may be more romantic, but a backpack is easier to load and carry.
15. Another alternative to the classic basket: an insulated cooler, which can be collapsed when empty.
16. If bringing a knife to cut food, wrap it in a kitchen towel for safe transport.
17. If you’re bringing salad, don’t forget tongs or serving spoons.
18. Bring along a family activity like Frisbee, a ball, or even playing cards.
19. Pack chips and other fragile foods in individual zip-top bags. The air cushion helps protect them from getting crushed.
20. If the ice in your cooler has melted by the time you get home, you should probably toss the leftovers. They may not be safe to eat.
21. Always remember to bring a bottle opener. And a can opener, too. Just in case.