Picnic hampers and what to pack – checklist!

picnic on pallets

There is something wonderful about eating outdoors isn’t there? Do you remember when you did this as a child yourself?.. So many options – a picnic rug on the grass “at home” or a towel on the beach or chairs set up on the roadside!

The British are famous for their picnics – whether that’s finger food favourites or gourmet tables, chairs etc – The Goodwood and Glyndebourne-type experiences. The “experience” got really enhanced in Victorian times – led by the Royal Family.

“Picnic” comes from the French from the verb “piquer” – to pick or peck at. A “Picque-nique” originally was a meal where the person paid for their share of the food or brings something to the whole table as well. What a nice thought! picnicgroup-150x150 Picnic hampers and what to pack - checklist!

To create your own special picnic – you can of course order a “done for you” option eg with a vintage theme if you really want to look the part – wicker baskets and more. But they are very expensive! Picnic backpacks are easily available now – and great if you are walking with the family for the day.

To make life easier – you need to get prepared in advance!

  • Prepare and freeze things eg sandwiches (but NOT with egg or mayo in them)
  • Freeze cakes – they come out really well!
  • Serve crudites which can be prepared in advance and put in bags in the fridge – or bought already done.
  • Easy dips are houmous and guacamole, fish pates, pesto etc Kids love them too.
  • Sausages and sausage rolls are always welcomed. Cheese and picnic-on-pallets-150x150 Picnic hampers and what to pack - checklist!pickle, quiche.
  • Little veg make life simpler eg sweetcorn, baby tomatoes, carrot, cucumber and celery batons, mini potatoes.
  • Actual salad can be difficult – its bulky, doesn’t travel well and then is fiddly to eat when sitting on the ground – maybe avoid this one!
  • Desserts which stack in ramekins or cartons are easy to pack tightly – eg mousses, creme brulee, yoghurts, cake. Don;t forget fresh fruit as an option too.
  • Packing foods tightly helps so use square containers. Pack the food in the order it needs to come out – ie desserts at the bottom.
  • Drinks bottles can go on their side with ice cool blocks – or maybe pre-freeze them – so as they melt they are ready to drink! picnic1-150x150 Picnic hampers and what to pack - checklist!

Picnic check list

  1. Salt and Pepper – maybe use the catering paper packs..
  2. Likewise for sauces – mayo, tomato ketchup, brown sauce etc
  3. Napkins or kitchen towel
  4. Sharp knife with a cover – for bread cutting etc
  5. Drinking water
  6. Plates, glasses / beakers, cutlery
  7. Picnic rug / tablecloth
  8. Dampened cloth in a plastic bag for wiping little fingers etc!
  9. Insect repellent
  10. Sun screen
  11. Sun hats
  12. First Aid kit – plasters mainly.
  13. Refuse bad for rubbish
  14. Clingfilm for covering up leftovers – or use one of the empty cartons.familypicnic-150x150 Picnic hampers and what to pack - checklist!
  15. Ice blocks – you can never have too many!
  16. Strong bag / cooler box / hamper (or two!)
  17. Umbrella for shade
  18. Table and chairs

So – where are you going for your picnic? The beach, a wood, the South Downs, a Festival??

© Gayle Palmer Chichester Self Catering 2016

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