There’s nothing quite like a relaxing picnic on a beautiful day. Whether you’re planning a romantic picnic for two, an afternoon at the park with the family, or a small, outdoor picnic-style gathering, we have ten helpful tips to make sure you have everything you need! From planning to preparing and packaging, our checklist will make your day a breeze.
- Pick your location.
- Plan your meal in advance.
- Wash your produce in advance.
- Bring condiments on the side.
- Mind the two-hour rule.
- Plan for temperature-sensitive foods.
- Make low-maintenance side dishes.
- Bring a cutting board or tray.
- Choose the perfect picnic basket.
- Bring a blanket.
Picking Your Location
Location can make or break your picnic plans. Typically, the ideal picnic area is scenic, lush, and green, with plenty sites to take in. Find a spot that offers both sun and shade, staying mindful of the temperature for your chosen day.
If you’re picnicking with your family, find a spot with lots of space for the kids and pets to play or a safe playground within view. Areas with water offer a lovely ambiance for a romantic setting. Just beware of those pesky mosquitos. If your picnic entails barbequing or potluck, you may want to scout out a location that offers grills and picnic benches nearby. Planning your location in advance will help you cut down on possible bumps in the road for your special outing.
We do suggest choosing a backup location in case the weather tries to spoil your plans. This option may be as simple as a park with covered seating until the showers pass. If all else fails, create a picnic in your living room if the weather keeps you indoors. There's no need to cancel all your plans when your picnic basket is ready to go, and you can get a little creative.
Plan Your Meal in Advance
There’s nothing worse than throwing together a last-minute meal for a picnic. Trust us – you’re bound to forget items and run into other food mishaps when you arrive at your location. Think carefully about your afternoon and make a checklist of items you may need, even beyond the food itself. Besides, nobody said you’re limited to one wicker basket, so pack to meet your needs. We suggest starting your list with:
- Foods that can be enjoyed by all attending
- Foods that can be easily thrown away or sealed for freshness and taken home
- Plates and cups
Wash Your Produce in Advance
This tip may seem like a silly one, but it’s often overlooked. More often than not, you start the packing process, and before you know it, you're reaching for the strawberries and apples and tossing them into the picnic basket without washing. You don’t want to pack up a wicker basket full of bacteria, do you? If you plan to create your sandwiches or burgers on location, remember to wash your produce and trimmings ahead of time, packaging them separately to keep them fresh.
Bring Condiments on the Side
SideImagine laying out your blanket, unpacking your picnic basket, and taking a long-awaited bite into a soggy sandwich. Even the thought ruins the mood a bit, doesn’t it? Plan out your condiment needs and pack them in your picnic basket separately. If you happen to have individual packets – perfect! If not, use small containers for mayo or dips and sauces to keep everything fresh.
Perishable Food: The Two-Hour Rule
If you’re scratching your head at this point, this one is must-read. Make sure you follow the two-hour rule. A general rule of thumb - NEVER serve food that has been sitting out for over two hours. If it happens to be over 90°F outside, that two-hour rule shrinks down to one hour. To be safe, air on the side of caution and avoid serving food beyond these food safety guidelines. Harmful bacteria lurk and thrive in temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, so be aware of what you pack in your picnic basket and how long you’ve had it out. A few helpful tips for temperature-sensitive foods:
- Keep your cold foods on ice. Whether you line your wicker basket with ice packs or toss in a few sandwich bags of ice, it’s best to keep it cool if you’re using a picnic basket rather than a cooler. You can even package your food in a Tupperware container, then place it in the next size up and line it with ice. Toss it in your wicker basket, and you're all set!
- Be sure to keep hot foods at 140°F or higher to guard against bacteria. If you know you’ll be exceeding the two-hour rule, use chafing dishes or slow cookers to be safe. While transporting your hot dishes, use a heavy-duty foil or even a heavy hand towel to wrap your cooking dish, then place it in a well-insulated container.
Low-Maintenance Side Dishes
Try to avoid bringing foods that may not be eaten and could cut your adventure short. There's no need to rush home so that the macaroni salad doesn't spoil. Choose options that allow you to have a worry-free afternoon, such as chips, trail mix, and small servings of fruit and veggies. Filling your wicker basket with non-perishables is especially useful when picnicking with little ones.
Bring a Cutting Board
Chances are that your picnic will have you lounging on a beautiful grassy area under a tree. But don’t assume you’ll have a level area! Tuck a small cutting board into your wicker basket for your meal preparations that may require an even or hard surface. Trust us: it will make for a much smoother sandwich-making experience.
Choosing the Perfect Picnic Basket
Selecting your picnic basket is always half the fun of planning, isn’t it? There are often many styles to choose from, so be sure to select one that fits your needs for the day. Some picnic baskets will secure your plates and a bottle of wine, while others offer a more open, decorative basket style. You may even want to consider using several wicker baskets to store items for group picnic gatherings.
You can create a beautiful display using our Petit Pole Handle Wicker Baskets or our Tall Pole Handle Wicker Baskets. Our selection of baskets offer stylish, sustainable solutions for all your storage needs, and picnics are no exception.
Don’t Forget Your Blanket
It happens. We know. So, put this last tip on your checklist, and be sure to pack a cozy blanket large enough for all of you to relax on. Choose a blanket that’s simple enough to roll up and tuck under your arm so you’ll have your hands free for carrying your wicker baskets.
The only thing left is to enjoy yourself! Stick with these top ten tips, and you're sure to have an incredible picnic!