Plan a Memorable Mother’s Day Picnic with Picnic Time
Take a step back in time this Mother’s Day to when life was simpler—with a picnic! Rather than take your mom out to brunch like you do every year, why not do something a little more special and different? Using a picnic basket, wine tote, or cheese tote from Picnic Time will make it easier to take your picnic on the road to your favorite place at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. But first, how do you plan a picnic?
Choose Your SettingAs an outdoors enthusiast, this should be the easiest part! Think of the people you’ll be sharing your picnic with, what they will enjoy, what is memorable to them, and plan accordingly! Take note whether there is a picnic table, a pavilion, garbage cans, a long hike to your destination, or a grill that you could use.
Make a MenuTaking meals on the road requires a little more planning than usual. Your Mother’s Day picnic can be as low-maintenance or sophisticated as you want. The goal is to make your menu manageable—you know your skills and time limits, so don’t overextend yourself. If you don’t have much time to plan, choose a spread of deli meats, cheeses, bread, and fresh fruits and veggies. If you have more time, consider homemade desserts, deli sandwiches, salad skewers, or even a spread that works well on a portable grill.
- Look at your menu, and decide whether two baskets would be better—one for tableware and non-perishables, and the other for cold items.
- Pack your basket the way you’ll need to unpack it: foods on the bottom, then serving equipment and tableware, and then the tablecloth to top it all off.
- To feed a crowd, bring more than one basket or cooler for cold items. Each time the lid is opened, cold air escapes, so keep a separate container for frequented cold items like drinks, and another for food like desserts and meats.
- Estimate how much your picnic attendees will eat. Leftovers quickly go sour if there isn’t a good way to repack and chill them.
- Take some plastic bags with you for dirty items and trash. Never leave trash behind from your picnic.
- Use packets of condiments from fast-food restaurants—they’re disposable and easy to keep outside for picnic meals.
- If you don’t have a basket, we have Picnic Time picnic baskets, wine totes, and cheese totes to help your picnic stand out.
Keep Cold Items ColdThere’s nothing like a cold drink, crisp salad, or chilled sandwich on a hot day. Make sure these items stay fresh and cold!
- Your picnic basket ratio should be 75% food and 25% ice. Use ice packs to line the sides and bottom of the cooler, and then put the most perishable, heaviest foods directly on the ice.
- Keep your cold foods in your refrigerator before putting them in the cooler. Don’t rely on the ice to chill room-temperature foods.
- If your picnic will be at the end of a lengthy hike, use ice chunks instead of cubes; they won’t melt as quickly as the cubes will.
Plan Differently for a GrillPerhaps you want to grill foods for your Mother’s Day picnic instead of packing sandwiches. Chicken, hamburgers, steaks, and hot dogs are easy to pack and grill on the road.
- Remember the condiments, seasonings, and bread that you may need for your grilled food, and be sure to package raw meat separate from cooked meat.
- Consider freezing your meats before you pack your basket so they last longer.
- Never partially cook your meat, pack it, and then finish it at the picnic site. Bacteria grows much faster when meat is partially cooked.
- Always remember that hot foods need to be eaten within two hours after they’ve been cooked.