Five essentials for the perfect summer picnic

No need to slave over a hot stove to put together some great dishes for family and friends

Picnicking is made easy when you leave the menu to the pros. Try one of Quality Foods’ delicious deli platters

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If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen – especially during the sweltering summer months.

Instead, keep your cool by making a reservation with Mother Nature and enjoy an alfresco lunch or dinner in the great outdoors.

With a summer picnic here on Vancouver Island, you can’t beat the view, ambience or affordability factor.

There’s also no gratuity required. Speaking of tips, you might want to consider these five picnic pointers when planning your next outdoor dining experience.

 

1- Take inventory

Before you plan your picnic, take inventory of the supplies you have on hand. While a picnic basket, and/or a cooler probably come to mind, thermal bags are gaining in popularity because of their versatility with hot or cold foods and everyday usefulness. These bags come in handy for everything from grocery shopping and road trips to picnicking.

For stability in transport, option for one with a rigid bottom, sewn handles and a zipper-top closure.

 

2- Ice ice baby

Chilled salads, ice-cold beverages, cold chicken and dips galore are popular picnic fare that go down great on a hot day, but can make you ill if you’re not careful.

To keep these items at a safe temperature –40F or colder – invest in an insulated cooler and/or ice packs.

If using a cooler, keep the ratio: 25 per cent ice and 75 per cent food.  Also, steer clear of packing any warm items in your cooler.

 

3.  Location is everything

Vancouver Island boasts plenty of beautiful picnic hot spots and hidden gems. Whether it’s an ocean view and sandy beach you crave or a woodland setting, complete with a waterfall, the choice is yours for the picknicking. Look for spots with ample shade to protect your food from spoiling and have the bug spray handy to ward off any pesky unwanted dining guests.

 

4 – Keep it Simple

For those short on time, picnicking is made easy when you leave the menu to the pros.

Try one of Quality Foods’ delicious deli platters, featuring assortments of fresh cut vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese, sandwiches, wraps, and other appetizers.

Beyond the traditional and trustworthy potato, egg and pasta salads are a new breed of healthy delicious sides featuring kale, quinoa or blueberries.

Nowadays, many grocery store deli departments are basically in-store commercial kitchens, much like a good quality restaurant. For example, QF can crank up your picnic basket with new hot or cold offerings like slow-cooked pulled pork, fall-off-the-bone barbecued ribs, grab and go crispy chicken, delicious sides, etc.

 

5- Fun Factor

Outdoor games and activities that are easy to transport and set up are always a must for any picnic. Whether it’s beanbag toss (cornhole), ladder toss or game of bocce, a little friendly competition will up the fun factor and help you burn off all those extra calories.

 

With these five picnic pointers in mind and plenty of sunshine still on the forecast, there’s no need to slave over a hot stove.

From mouth-watering already-prepared picnic fare to essentials like ice, hot dog buns and aluminum foil, Quality Foods has everything you’ll need to plan the perfect summer picnic.