As the weather turns warm and the sun begins to shine and bring with it a long awaited Spring, it is time to spend some time in the great outdoors. I would not consider myself an outdoorsy kind of girl. I don't like to get dirty. I never wear the appropriate shoes. I am terrified of bugs and I seem to be a magnet for mosquitoes. Take me camping and I will sleep in my car and not speak to you for weeks.
Yet, despite all of this, I love picnics. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, I am quite aware of that fact. Having that cushy blanket to protect me from the grass and the ants helps a lot. Also, I am always happy when I am eating.
So whether you like to be outside or not, try going on a picnic this Spring. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to making a the experience a success.
(I am not suggesting what you should prepare for the "perfect picnic." I have gone with fruits and homemade items and I have gone with subs from Subway. As long as the food is something that everyone will enjoy that is all that matters.)
Things to avoid:
-Ice cream, sticky puddings, and cakes. They are fragile to transport and bugs love them. It's essential to keep hot food hot and cold food cold throughout the duration of your picnic.
-Direct sunlight. Already hot temperatures can spike higher in direct sunlight. Holding food at an unsafe temperature is a prime cause of food-borne illness. Store coolers in the shade whenever possible.
What you need:
-Napkins or hand wipes
-Bug spray, just in case
-Bags to bag up trash
-Picnic blanket or tablecloth
-Cushions, pillows, or folding chairs
-Oh, and don't forget the yummy food!
-Ensure all picnic foods are simple to transport and not too heavy to carry. Some picnic spots are isolated with a long walk to reach them. Go with paper or plastic plates and cutlery.
-Prepare just a few things and do them well. To ease up on the cooking visit your local deli or farm shop and top up a few homemade goodies.
-Use cool bags or an icebox. Although picnic hampers look pretty, they are often heavy to carry. Cool bags will keep food at the correct temperature to help avoid any risk of food poisoning.
-Put small bottles of water, juice in the freezer for a few hours before you leave. These can then double up as chiller-blocks to keep food cool and when you reach your picnic spot, the drinks will still be cold.
-Don't stock the cooler until immediately before leaving home. Keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car when traveling.