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Preparing for a Picnic

With Summer fast approaching and the promise of sunshine and warmer weather, what better way to relax and enjoy the outdoors than by dining out in the open with a homemade picnic hamper, full of sweet treats and savoury surprises for a delicious brunch, lunch or dinner!

These picnic boxes make the perfect choice for a socially distanced gathering once COVID restrictions begin to ease, enabling you to spend some quality time with a small group of your nearest and dearest. They also make great gifts for friends and family that you haven't been able to see - simply drop at their doorstep on special occasions to show them a little love and appreciation.

From simple salads, sandwiches and scotch eggs to energy balls, granola bars, baked goods and jellies, the possibilities for picnic hampers are endless. We've put together a selection of our favourite summertime recipes for you to add to your bag, alongside some suggestions for how you can pack up your food in an easy, sustainable and mess-free fashion.

Personalised Picnic Boxes

Whether you know a few fussy eaters, have loved ones with allergies and intolerances or are well aware of people's preferences when it comes to food, personalised picnic boxes are a great way to cater to all tastes and demands. Make up large batches of several different recipes (we'd recommend including several vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and nut free recipes just to be on the safe side) and then separate or portion the food out between each person according to their requirements. Don't forget to label each box with a name to avoid any confusion later down the line!

Re-usable lunch boxes and recycled containers make great options for packing up your picnic instead of plastic bags or boxes that go straight to landfill - add all your favourite foods to the box then simply seal to prevent any leaks or spillages. If you're worried about the food moving around too much with the box, try wrapping goods in bees' wax wraps that will not only keep the item fresh but will also add a layer of protection.


Other essential additions to your picnic box are hand sanitiser and a reusable wipe. The hand sanitiser and reusable wipe mean hands and faces can be cleaned quickly and easily both before and after eating and the added bonus is that the wipe can accompany you on all your picnics in the future too. Whilst lots of picnic options are finger food friendly, it's also always worth taking your own cutlery set for dishes that are a little messier to eat (such as salads and quiche) or to share food with others where you may not all want to touch the actual item.

Savoury Surprises

For those that travel light or want something to take that's a little more substantial, try packing a vibrant salad into a large jam jar. Put shredded lettuce at the base, then add your choice of additional vegetables - we love crunchy carrot, cherry tomatoes, fresh cucumber and yellow pepper for a bright array or colours, flavours and textures! Top with a source of protein to make your salad more satiating, drizzle with a salad dressing and lightly shake the jar to ensure all of its contents are well coated.

Jam jars can also be used to carry vegetable sticks and hummus - place the hummus at the bottom, then add sticks or carrot, celery, cucumber, pepper and pitta bread to the jar. Empty jars are incredibly useful at the end of the picnic for taking any uneaten food or rubbish back home where it can be disposed of correctly and responsibly.


Sandwiches are also a great choice to cater to a wide range of tastes. Make up several sandwiches with different fillings (ham, cheese, egg mayonnaise, PB&J and chickpea 'tuna' are a few of the classics), cut into quarters and then make up a full sandwich for each person from each of the quarters for maximum variety. Top Tip: Toast your bread before making your sandwiches - this can help to prevent your bread from becoming soggy if you have a wet filling (such as avocado, cucumber or tomato).

Savoury Recipes

Take a look at our selection of some other savoury picnic favourites below:

Spinach and Ricotta Picnic Bites

Spread out your chequered blanket and napkins, these deliciously crisp spinach and ricotta bites...

Gluten Free Garlic and Coriander Flatbreads

These quick and tasty flatbreads are perfect for mopping up a curry dish or can be a delicious...

Red Onion and Courgette Quiche

Quiche is a classic British dish we all know and love. This particular quiche delivers cheese and...

Chive and Parmesan Scones

Savoury scones infused with chives and baked with a buttery parmesan crust.

Classic Hummus

This nutritious hummus recipe uses store cupboard ingredients, made in minutes in the Dualit Hand...

Pesto, Tapenade & Tomato Bread Rolls

Brittany-born baker Richard Bertinet came up with this imaginative idea of topping bite-sized...

Quick and Easy Loaf

This basic bread recipe is quick and easy and can be adapted to your own taste.

Kachumber Salad

Kachumber is a fresh and flavourful Indian dish consisting of cucumber, tomato, onion, chilli,...

Sweet Surprises

For those that enjoy the finer things in life, whip up a batch of plain vanilla cake batter and bake as cupcakes until golden brown, then decorate each cupcake differently according to your friends' favourite flavours, toppings and treats. For the chocoholic, try chocolate buttercream with a square of their favourite chocolate bar. For those who like things a little less sweet, try lemon buttercream and top with mini meringues. Perhaps strawberries are your sisters' favourite fruit? Try strawberry buttercream and garnish with chunks of fresh strawberry. It's time to get creative!


Granola bars and energy balls also make slightly healthier options, thanks to their lower sugar and higher fibre content. Wholegrain oats also provide long lasting energy, making these super snacks for those enjoying their picnic post park workout or morning run! Both options can also be customised according to dietary requirements and can easily be made vegan, dairy free and nut free if necessary.

An option for the younger guests at your picnic is jelly - make up a large batch of jelly and set in individual pots that you have at home. Clean yoghurt pots can make great vessels for jelly if you don't have any reusable moulds, just be sure to check that each jelly is well set, kept upright and covered with foil or a wrap to avoid any mess. You can even add fresh fruit (though we'd recommend avoiding pineapple as this can prevent your jelly from setting) in bite size pieces to the bottom to help your little one work towards their five a day.


In safer times, you could also try baking a tear and share loaf. These not only make great conversational pieces (particularly with recipes as good as ours), but also bring attendees closer together - ideal if you're reconnecting with friends and family that you haven't visited for a while or on a date!

Recipes

Check out some of our other sweet treat recipes:

Chocolate Brownies

These delightful brownies combine white and dark chocolate for a truly rich and indulgent bake.

Vegan Fruit Scones

Golden brown, vegan scones made with sweet sultanas. Best served with plant-based butter or vegan...

Coconut Macaroons

Crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, these sweet and delicious coconut macaroons are...

Vegan Flapjack

Using a variety of whatever dried fruit, nuts or seeds you have available, you can tailor this...

Protein Balls

These Protein Balls are a quick and easy snack to make. The best bit is that they're packed with...

Vanilla Fairy Cakes

Great for kids (and adults too!) these fairy cakes taste delicious and provide a great base to...

Jaffa Cakes

Bake Dualit's vegan friendly version of a family favourite, created by blogger, Brit Woodruff.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Blondies

Blondies are a rich and sweet dessert bar that resemble a traditional brownie. They are made...

Drinks

Drinks at a picnic can easily be overlooked but are actually essential to the overall atmosphere and ambience. A quick and easy resolution to working out what drinks to bring would be for each individual to bring a bottle of drink for themselves; some of our favourites are water, squash, fizzy drinks or even hot drinks like tea and coffee. Refillable bottles are a sustainable choice for any occasion, but we encourage those who opt for a plastic bottle to recycle it once finished wherever possible.


If one person has been designated to supply drinks for the group, try thoroughly rinsing and re-using an old juice carton or 2l bottle of your favourite fizzy drink and simply re-fill with your choice of beverage. Homemade lemonade is a fantastic option for a hot summer's day as it's refreshing and zingy, full of flavour and suitable for all tastebuds. Don't forget to bring enough cups to cater for every member of the group!


If it's a little colder, try bringing a flask of hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate to keep you warm from the inside out!

Recipes

For some other drink suggestions, we've put together a selection of recipes for you to try:

Iced Coffee

This Iced Coffee is a quick and easy way to make a cooling drink with just three ingredients.

Lemon-Made

Use your juicer to make this delicious, healthy homemade lemonade - no added sugar required!...

Watermelon and Mint Cooler

A juice perfect for summer, using seasonal ingredients.

Homemade Ginger Beer

Better than anything you will buy in the shops - all the taste without the sugar!

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