Do you picnic?
I love a good picnic. For some reason food always taste so much better than eating outdoors! And it’s also wonderful way to create memories. With so many memories of my own childhood having picnics and also take my own children out and about. We are blessed in Wicklow with so many really nice places for picnics, as we all do around the country
What is in the essential picnic kit?
My all-time favourite is going for a picnic up in the mountains. So, for that, a backpack is ideal for this style of picnic – you can buy special picnic backpacks, that even have cheeseboards and wineglasses in them – not that wine would be much use when mountain climbing! But they have everything – all cutlery, crockery, napkins and mini rug, bottle opener, cheese knife…. Very fancy
But I do also love a traditional basket with the rug, pretty glasses, and all the bells and whistles! I have seen some beautiful picnic set ups with bunting and solar lights!
Things to pack
- mobile phone – if hiking and a portable charger
- picnic blanket
- Cooler boxes
- eco beeswax wraps to wrap food in or..
- Food well wrapped in Tupperware style containers
- No breakable glassware and crockery
- Real cutlery
- Knives (well wrapped) to cut, slice and peel!
- Salt and pepper
- Sugar and milk
- Hot water
- Cold water
- Wipes and paper towels
- Rubbish bags!!
- Bug spray
Things not to pack
- Avoid glassware – if glass breaks, it can be very dangerous
- No candles
- Preferably no disposable BBQ, unless you have a safety plan around it and a way to bring it home
- Any food that may spoil e.g. rice
- Anything that doesn’t travel well such as large cakes
- Anything that will attract wasps – e.g. jam scones
To make it a great experience for everyone, here are my tips to keeping food safe
This is such an important topic. It’s possible to purchase cooler boxes from the main outdoor type shops – the best one to get is one with a regular 3 pin plug and also has a plug for your car
- Otherwise – freezer bags with ice packs work well. Put freezer bag and all in freezer night before so all is very cold before packing
- You can also fill plastic bottles with water and freeze them – they work well to keep temperature down. They can also be used later as cold drinks
- Tip if beside river, put sealed food in coldest part of river i.e. running water to keep food cool – same with lake for drinks, sink drinks
- If you don’t have any way to keep food cold, then think about only bringing safe foods e.g. salad sandwiches, selection of salads (put dressing on as about to serve) – green salad, pasta salad, tomato salad etc.
- Skip heavy mayo food as that can spoil in heat
- And remember – clean hands when handling food
Suggestions for food
- We are saying no to soggy sandwiches!
- easy manageable finger foods
- colourful salads in tubs or jars with wooden spoons attached
- a tray bake, savoury or sweet works well (e.g. frittata / lemon slices) and slice before you leave.
- asparagus quiche or honey garlic roast vegetable tart
- homemade falafels, pita breads or couscous filled with dried fruits, toasted nuts, dill, and an orange dressing
- A quinoa salad filled with roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes and toasted coconut carrots sticks with red pepper hummus
- Pasta salads choosing ones like orzo or penne with a mild curry dressing, spinach and diced chicken
- baps, pitas or wraps filled with chicken, lettuce and chutney or roasted vegetables and garlic mayo pitas, roast beef with red cabbage slaw baps, sweet potato and bean spice wraps
- sundried tomato and courgette muffins
- Take non bruising fruits like apples, easy peelers and some celery to serve with almond butter
- Ziploc bag of chilled fruits like grapes, blueberries, strawberries
- popcorn rocky road.
- homemade granola bars or carrot cake muffins for the kids.
- bag of dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, apricots, add chocolate drops and toasted nuts
Some recipes perfect for your Picnic
The Perfect Picnic Dessert : Nectarine & Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Frosting
And for Drinks: Raspberry and Strawberry Lemonade
For adults, if celebrating – use prosecco instead of sparkling water