The sunshine and warm temperatures that spring brings make the perfect environment for a picnic. After being cooped up all winter, it's fun to enjoy the beautiful weather with a meal outdoors. If you're wondering what to put into a picnic basket, check out these ideas.
Keep It Cool
When it comes to how to pack a picnic, food storage and safety is a top concern. Make sure cooked foods cool completely before chilling them further in the refrigerator or placing them into a cooler. Keep them on ice as long as possible before serving. Certain foods spoil quickly when left out in warm temperatures. Foodsafety.gov recommends not leaving foods out for longer than one hour on days where the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. You can allow up to two hours in cooler temperatures.
Paper plates, cups, napkins, and plastic utensils might make cleanup easier, but they produce a lot of unnecessary waste. If you're having a small picnic, consider using reusable plates and utensils that you can take home to wash. These heavier pieces are also less likely to blow away if a spring breeze blows through your picnic.
Always Have Extras
Chances are high that your perfect picnic spot doesn't have running water or a place to wash dishes. Have extra utensils, plates, and containers on hand in case you drop any on the ground or you're worried about contamination. It's also nice to have a few extras to offer to a friend or neighbor who might stop by your picnic.
Keep the Germs Away
Much of the fun of an outdoor picnic is in giving your kids and family a chance to enjoy the sunshine and nature. Whether they're playing on a playground, collecting rocks or exploring a creek, there's a good chance that they've picked up a few germs along the way. Pack wet wipes and hand sanitizer in your picnic basket to ensure everyone has clean hands before digging into the food.
In addition to clean hands, make sure you've got clean plates and utensils to prevent food contamination. If you're grilling burgers or other meats, never place the cooked foods on the same plates that previously held raw foods.
Foods to Pack for a Perfect Picnic
You can bring just about any type of food with you on a picnic. However, there are some foods that are more popular than others for bringing along to an al fresco luncheon. One of the most popular picnic basket ideas is a make-your-own sandwich. Bring along several selections of meats, cheeses, vegetable toppings, and condiments so that people can build their sandwiches just the way they like them. Deviled eggs, potato salad, and macaroni salad are creamy sides that are perfect for a springtime meal. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a refreshing snack on hot days. Don't forget the drinks. Lemonade, sweet tea, sports drinks, and water all help you stay hydrated when playing outdoors. No matter what you pack, make sure you put everything in sealed containers and bags to prevent spills, and keep your picnic running smoothly.