The Anatomy of a Perfect Picnic Basket
Summer is almost over, but while the warm weather lasts, this is the perfect time to plan an end-of-season picnic. If you haven’t packed a picnic basket since you were a kid, it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you’re planning on having a day at the beach, heading out on a hike or just walking through your backyard, a picnic is a great way to enjoy the end of summer. What makes up the anatomy of a perfect picnic basket?
Picking the Perfect Picnic Basket
You can’t plan a picnic without a picnic basket to hold all your plates, silverware and good picnic food. While you can stuff all your food in a cooler or a lunchbox, that leads to squished sandwiches and grapes that are well on their way to being wine.
Picnic backpacks are a good option — especially if you’ve got quite a trek to reach your picnic location. They can cost between $50 and $200, but as their name suggests, they enable you to carry all your food on your back, rather than in your hand.
Wicker baskets are iconic when it comes to picnics. You may have one from an old relative, collecting dust in your attic, but if you don’t, you can pick one up for between $30 and $200, depending on the quality, size and features. These baskets may come with all the plates and utensils you need to have an awesome picnic — just add food, and you’re good to go.
If you’re on a budget, cloth baskets are another option to consider. They don’t have the structure of a wicker basket, but they will only set you back between $15 and $50. They come with handles, and some might even have lids that can zip closed.
How to Pack a Picnic
Once you’ve picked out your basket, it’s time to stock it with picnic essentials. It’s not time to fill it with food quite yet — it's time to pack up the tools you need to enjoy all those picnic foods.
Have a set of plates and utensils for each person attending the picnic. Cups are good, too, if you’re packing a large jug or bottle of whatever you’re drinking. Napkins and paper towels can help keep your hands and face clean.
Don’t forget the ice packs or frozen water bottles to keep your food from spoiling in the heat. If you choose frozen water bottles, you’ll have a nice cold drink once they thaw out.
What to Bring on a Picnic
Now for the fun part — choosing your picnic foods. Anything you can stick in a Tupperware container can serve as picnic food, but there are plenty of good options out there. Start with sandwich fixings — cured meats like salami and pepperoni, cheese and bread. If someone in your party is lactose-intolerant, sheep or goat cheese can be a good alternative.
Don’t forget the snacks. Hard-boiled eggs, nuts, fresh vegetables and hummus to dip them in are good ideas. If you’ve got fruit that's in season — like peaches, plums, berries and cherries — you and your picnic guests can eat without having to cut them up, it makes your job a little bit easier. Melons are good options too — they're primarily water, so they’re the perfect snack on a hot day.
If it’s warm out, don’t forget your drinks! Water, lemonade, tea or juice are all tasty options. For the adults in your party, don’t forget the adult beverages. Just make sure the place you’re picnicking allows alcohol!
Finally, pack dessert! You won’t want to be cutting big cakes or pies while you’re out picnicking, so focus on bite-sized treats like cookies, cupcakes or brownies.
Other Things to Bring to a Picnic
What else do you need for a successful picnic?
First, don't forget your picnic blanket. No one wants to sit on the grass — and a blanket can help discourage ants from joining you for your picnic. A Bluetooth speaker can also be a fun addition to your picnic — get the tunes going and turn it into a real party!
Once you have everything you need, all that’s left is to get outside and enjoy the rest of this summer!