National Picnic Week 22nd-28th June 2020
Celebrating a great British tradition and perfectly timed to coincide with a few days of lovely sunshine. It’s time to breakout the picnic rugs and baskets!
National picnic week celebrates all those memories and images of blue skies, green grass, blankets and hampers of food and is also an opportunity to share all your tips and recipes for making the perfect picnic. The concept of the picnic originated in France, however the British have very much taken it to their hearts and it is reckoned that the average person in the UK goes on 3 picnics a year, enjoying the sunshine (when we are lucky enough to get some!) and the fresh air it brings.
Don’t forget, it is of course important that whilst enjoying ourselves, we keep in line with the most recent government advice of maintaining social distancing and not participating in a large gathering. So, rally the family, drive or cycle to a favourite spot with each person’s favourite picnic treats and spend a few hours relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors.
A picnic is an inexpensive day out and provides the chance for quality family time playing traditional games such as rounders & cricket or just relaxing with a good book and some music.
Tips & Tricks for a Great Picnic!
- Don’t risk a bad tummy! Make sure you have plenty of ice packs and a cold box if possible. Keep food like meat pies, fish or dairy dishes on ice and don’t delay tucking in them once you’ve reached your destination.
- It may look appealing to lay out all the food at once for everyone to see, but it is better to keep some food on ice for as long as possible. That way you will reduce the risk of having to throw out anything that has been sat in the sun for hours. One good suggestion is to cut dishes such as quiche/pies into wedges and serving it directly from the cool box.
- To avoid soggy salads and sandwiches, keep components such as dressings, fillings and optional extras stored in separate containers (chilled if necessary) until you need them.
- Better still, avoid ‘salad wilt’ altogether and instead opt for robust and crunchy salad crudities such as carrots & celery sticks & cucumber wedges.
- How about freezing fruit juice in ice cube trays, popping the cubes into an airtight container (use the box to chill foods in the picnic) then once the juice has melted, pour it into cups, and top it up with soda water for a refreshing drink.
- Get everyone to bring their own cushion/rug to sit on so that there are fewer arguments about whether your collective blanket is in the sun or the shade!
- Make the best picnic sandwich ever by making one absolutely massive one! The French have it spot on with the ‘pain bagnat’. Take a crusty baguette (or similar) cut it in half and take the bread out of the middle. You can then stuff it with boiled eggs, tuna, tomatoes, olives or how about cheeses, cured meats, tomatoes and soft herbs like basil or chives – or any of your favourite fillings! Once you have assembled the filling in the baguette, wrap the loaf tightly with parchment paper and tie with string. Leave it in the fridge overnight with something heavy on top and then pack it in the bottom of the cool box to press the layers together. Cut into wedges or slices to serve. Delicious!
- ‘Salad in a Jar’. While this may seem a bit radical, it actually makes a lot of sense! The idea is that the dressing goes in first, gets trapped at the bottom and gently marinates anything around it. You should chose a robust ingredient like chickpeas, feta or raw veg for the first layer, then you can fill the jar up with the more delicate ingredients on top. When you tip the salad out, the dressing comes out last and gets drizzled all over the top of the salad. Genius!
- Finally, make sure you have plenty of hand wipes or anti-bacterial gel ready to ensure clean hands before you eat.
The last rule of the day is make sure you clear up after yourselves and take your rubbish home when you leave!
Happy picnicking everyone!