Plan a Picnic Fit for Royalty
Summer’s here, and with it a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are ready to be enjoyed at a lazy afternoon picnic. If you’re gearing up for an outing to the park with friends and family, consider taking the following picnic treats along with you:
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
These may not be the healthiest picnic option, but they certainly are tasty. Not only that, these sandwiches are also incredibly easy to assemble once you’re out there in the field.
Of course, ease of assembly comes at the expense of preparation. There are countless family recipes for the pulled pork, many of which originate in the American south. The best recipes begin with top-quality pork—preferable sourced from farms that adhere to high food standards in terms of what their animals eat and how they’re treated during their lifetime. But that’s only the beginning. For mouth-water, falling-off-the-bone tender pulled pork, try a recipe like this one. Short of that, you can always purchase some ready-made pulled pork from a local grocer.
Fruit and Vegetable Skewers
If the barbecue is part of your picnic arsenal, then consider making up for all the fat and calories in those pulled pork sandwiches with fruit and vegetable kebobs. If you want to make this the centrepiece of your picnic, consider adding in some shrimp, chicken or even lamb to your skewers.
Regardless the following fruits and vegetables make for great picnic skewers:
Bell peppers (any and every colour)
Just remember, the secret to crowd-pleasing fruit and vegetable skewers is in the marinade. If you’re really looking to impress your friends, this spicy marinade recommended by Jamie Oliver is practically a life-changer.
Unadulterated watermelon is—pure and simple—a fantastic addition to any picnic. No need for any special recipes or complex preparation here. Just grab a ripe melon from the farmer’s market and you’re ready to go. Sure, watermelon tastes good, but did you know that these oblong gifts from nature are also packed with nutrients and amino acids? For starters, this fruit can aid the body in the following:
Cell division (courtesy of arginine-producing citrulline)
Protection from UV rays
Reduction in risk of cancer
Lowering blood pressure
Enjoyed as a side dish, a dessert or a standalone snack, watermelon is a great addition to any picnic. And if you’re really after the health benefits, consider taking a few bites of the rind as well. It’s edible and—as it turns out—chocked full of health-boosting goodies.
Sure it’s simple and practically a cliché, but there’s something irresistible about a well-presented fruit and cheese platter at a picnic. Building a cheese plate is an art form in itself, and it’s worth taking some time to plan out the details. For starters, make a point of choosing contrasting cheeses—think differences in colour, texture and of course flavour.
The non-cheese items on your cheese platter should serve as complements. With that in mind, the following are all excellent choices:
Thinly sliced pears
Bear in mind that you may want to let the cheeses sit out for an hour or so before they are consumed. The idea is to let them soften without becoming runny or messy.
When it comes to packing sweets for a picnic, there are several different trains of thought. Fruity crumbles and cobblers are popular choices, if only because they are easy to prepare and difficult to resist. However, transporting a cobbler to the park can be tricky, especially if a bouncy car ride is involved. If you take this route, consider adding an additional half tablespoon of cornstarch to the recipe to firm up the filling. Furthermore, give the dish plenty of time to cool before packing it up.
Anything that can be made in a muffin tin is also a great idea for a picnic. Of course, actual muffins are a possibility, but you could also look up recipes for cupcakes or teacakes. You’ll find countless clever ideas online for sweets that can be baked up in a muffin tin.
Chloe Lovette is writing on a freelance basis for Red Tractor Assurance, a small British food labelling organisation whose administrative costs are met by licence payments and assurance fees from food companies and farmers.