6 of the best picnic hacks to elevate your spring dining

Spring is finally here, which means it’s time to head outdoors to bask in the sunshine and enjoy the beauty of nature. Whether you’re off to your local park or visiting somewhere new, there’s no better way to enjoy the summer sun than with a picnic. In fact, despite the popularity of BBQs, a quarter of Brits prefer a picnic (YouGov). If you’ll be heading outside for a bit of alfresco dining this spring and summer, the experts from Denby share their favourite outdoor dining hacks to try on your next outing.

Wrap up your sandwiches

It wouldn’t be a picnic without a few sandwiches, but if you’ve found that they tend to fall apart during transport, this easy hack will help. Wrapping your sandwiches in a slip of greaseproof paper will keep them fresh and stop the fillings from sliding out, and you can use string or ribbon to keep everything together. The paper can also double up as a handy sandwich holder while you’re eating, keeping your hands filling-free for easy clean up!

Don’t shop especially for the picnic – use leftovers

If you have any food leftover from your midweek meals, why not repurpose it for your picnic? Doing this means you won’t have to visit the supermarket for fresh ingredients, saving you both time and money in the process. For the optimum time saver, go big on sandwich fillings: feel free to experiment with whatever you have to hand. For example, mix cooked chicken with mozzarella and pesto, or cold cuts of pork with apple. You may even just find a new favourite sandwich.

Alternatively, if you have a few eggs and a bit of prep time, leftovers can be made into a frittata or quiche (use slices of potato to create a crust if pasty’s not your forte). You can cook, cool, and transport it in a ceramic oven dish with a beeswax wrap to cover it.

Keep salads in jars

Say goodbye to soggy salads with the storage jar hack. Layering salads in an airtight jar can keep them fresher for longer — up to five days in the fridge. This is also an easy, mess-free way to transport your salad to your picnic destination as the airtight seal not only keeps your salad fresh but can help protect against leaks.

To keep salads crispy, layer more robust ingredients such as your protein at the bottom with the salad dressing, adding more tender salad leaves on top. Then, once you find the right picnic spot, simply mix your salad in the jar or pop it out into a bowl. If you don’t have any large jars to hand, you can also pack your salad in a bowl, leaving the dressing separate.

Freeze your drinks

Wherever you’re headed on your picnic, be sure to take plenty of drinks with you to stay hydrated in the summer heat. Putting a few bottles of water or juice in the freezer the night before packing your picnic will not only keep them cool, but they’ll also serve as extra ice packs to keep your food fresh. Just be sure to check that your bottle is freezer-safe before doing so.

Serve condiments in a muffin tin

Whether it’s a dip for your crudités or sauces for sandwiches, condiments can elevate any of your picnic dishes. For easy storage and transport, try serving your various condiments in a muffin tray, covering it with a beeswax wrap for protection. You can layer it in the bottom of your basket or bag to keep it upright as you travel from A to B.

Use a shower cap

You’ve packed your picnic with ice packs to keep it cool, but what do you do once you’re ready to eat? Instead of letting your fresh dishes warm up in the sun, simply fill a shower cap with ice and rest your bowl inside. Ceramic bowls will also stay cooler for longer compared to plastic alternatives, so you can keep your potato salad, coleslaw, or any other picnic dishes fresh while you eat.


There’s no better way to enjoy the summer sunshine than with a picnic, so pack up all your favourite snacks, some tableware, and glasses and head to one of your local picnic spots.

Ceramic tableware is sturdier and more durable than paper options, so you don’t need to worry about them blowing away in the breeze — and most can be popped in the dishwasher for easy clean-up once you get home.

You can get picnic baskets with handy compartments to carry your tableware in, a backpack which frees up your hands and is easier to carry around, or you can also wrap tableware in a tea towel and carry it in any bag you have to hand. Don’t forget to pack a cosy blanket and some comfy cushions so you can park yourself up wherever takes your fancy.

—     Jose Mudarra, Catering Manager from Denby