There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than by planning a leisurely outdoor picnic. Here’s how to keep your picnic out of bug-bite and spoiled-food territory to enjoy warm breezes, delicious food and fun.
Prep everything ahead of time
This may seem like a no-brainer, but putting in the time to chop your veggies, assemble your kebabs, or slice your baguette before leaving the house will keep the fuss—and mess—to a minimum once you get outside.
Bring small citronella candles to place along your picnic table. If you’re picnicking on a blanket (where fire isn’t the friendliest option), pack a bottle of chemical-free mosquito repellent from the body care section of your co-op.
Avoid foods that spoil easily
That means mayo, cream-based dips, and fresh cheeses are best left at home—unless you’re planning to transport them a short distance on ice and eat them immediately. Any leftovers should be thrown away (so plan your portions carefully!).
Practice food safety
Take care to make sure all raw meats are wrapped separately, and transport them on ice. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for handling raw meat (bring an extra plastic bag to keep them in), and wash your hands as often as possible. Hand sanitizer is a must.
Cook meat with care
If you’re grilling outdoors, keep raw meats below cooked meats on the grill at all times, and make sure they’re cooked thoroughly before eating (a meat thermometer can confirm doneness). Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees, poultry to 170 degrees, and beef, veal, and lamb cuts to 145 degrees.
Keep it earth-friendly
Bring reusable napkins (you’ll not only avoid fly-away paper napkins, but cloth napkins can also be used to wrap food and bottles for transport). If you are using disposable products, look for recycled and biodegradable options at the co-op. And make sure your picnic spot’s as pretty as a picture for its next al fresco diners!