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Food | Tips

The Square Roots Guide to Summer Picnics

Square Roots | 06.28.19

New Yorkers were made for picnics. Who better than tiny-apartment dwellers to take full advantage of our expansive parks and beaches? Picnics are a mainstay of summer, and the only solution we know to quench the thirst for a backyard.

It’s also a well-known fact (around these parts, at least) that urban farmers throw the best picnics. And we’re ready to spill some secrets, so everyone can picnic Square Roots style.

Square Roots picnic

First, The Bag

Picnicking knows no schedule. Keep a picnic bag (basket, backpack, rolling cart) by the door all summer long filled with these essentials:

  • Blanket: Go for one with a water-proof layer for easy grass sitting.

  • Trash and compost bags

  • Paring knife (we love this one from Whisk in Brooklyn Heights), corkscrew, herb scissors, and a small cutting board

  • Napkins, plates, and cutlery (go for light-weight reusables)

  • Condiments: Keep your go-tos—salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce—in a flavor first aid kit.

Next Up, The Herbs

Despite common belief, herbs require little to no preparation—which makes them perfect picnic additions. You can tuck a pack of fresh basil, chives, or sorrel in your picnic basket and tear, snip, or toss them on top of any dish as the finishing touch.

Choose herbs that can withstand being at room temperature for a while—like basil and chives—or that are woody and hardy in texture—like rosemary and mint. And instead of doing any chopping ahead of time, bring those handy kitchen scissors to snip on-site.

Finally, Some Rules
  • Have a plan: A headcount and a solid plan for food and drink never goes unnoticed.

  • Share the load: Ask your friends for help! Make it a potluck, BYOB, or gather at someone’s place to prep ahead of time. The more tasks you share, the more eclectic and communal the gathering will feel.

  • Embrace takeout: No time to prep or test your culinary skills? Make take-out or deli meals your own by adding fresh herbs!

  • Take care: Use an empty food container/jar/or bag for collecting food scraps to compost later. Bring reusable utensils, cups, and plates.

Our Go-To Recipes
  • Mason jar salad dressing: Chop fresh basil, sorrel, and chives into a jar with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and dijon mustard. Shake until combined. Pour on everything.

  • Local veggies with chive hummus: Snip fresh chives directly on top of a tub of store-bought hummus. Serve with crackers and colorful veggies from the farmers market. Instant fancy!

  • Pesto pasta: Blend Square Roots basil with garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and other leafy greens like sorrel or mustard greens. Add parmesan or nutritional yeast (hi, vegans). And toss with your fave pasta. Prep the night before, and serve at room-temp.

  • Thermos cocktails: Smack, muddle, or shake mint and basil into your sneaky park beverage of choice. We’re feeling these Basil Mojitos this summer.

  • Watermelon salad with feta and mint: There’s more than one way to eat a watermelon (we’re looking at you, huge slices that drip down your arm). Slice this favorite summer fruit into a grade-A salad that’s as pretty as it is tasty.

  • Deli sandwich upgrades: Layer fresh sorrel, mustard greens, or basil into any sandwich or wrap as a fresh add-on.

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