Eating Alfresco? How to Create a Great Outdoor Dining Experience

Eating Alfresco? How to Create a Great Outdoor Dining ExperienceOne of the best parts about summer is eating outside—nothing beats a tasty picnic or another alfresco dining experience. Of course, eating on the patio or at the park takes a bit more planning; the warmer temps also mean mozzies, the need to keep foods safe and an increased desire for cooler dishes. Make eating outside a pleasant and safe experience:

Keep Mozzies to a Minimum
Since mozzies and summertime outside eating often go hand in hand, it’s important to take some steps to keep the little buggers at bay. Homely-One suggests using green mosquito coils near barbecues, or light some citronella candles. These are both natural and effective approaches. Lavender oil may also be used as an insect repellent. Try mixing 2.5 ml of the oil with 500 ml of water and spray it on people and their clothing.

Eating Alfresco? How to Create a Great Outdoor Dining ExperienceKeep It Cool
You can have the newest and most stylish outdoor eating set or colorful benches from Wayfair all set up on your patio, but if you load up your new outdoor table with a lot of heavy and hot foods, people might not be inspired to sit down and eat. As Healthier Jane suggests, on those high-30s days, keep the foods and drinks as cool as possible.

For example, a cold slice of watermelon and a refreshing soft drink just seem to taste extra delicious on a hot summer eve. If you are not in the mood for watermelon, there are many other types of seasonal fruit that just seem extra special when eaten outside. Salads are also a tasty and cool meal idea for outside dining—they are healthy, delicious and feature cold ingredients that are refreshing in the heat.

Eating Alfresco? How to Create a Great Outdoor Dining ExperienceBring out the Barbie
If your hungry hoard is in the mood for hamburgers, steak, chicken or more, cook and eat it all outside. If the temperatures are a bit cooler at dinnertime, fire up the barbecue and keep the heat out of the kitchen. Plus, when you cook outside, clean up tends to be quick and easy. Consider using paper plates to save a bit of time and dish duty.

Pay Attention to Temperature
While picnics and eating outside are great activities on warm summer days, you do need to take a bit of precaution to be sure the food stays safe. As the Victoria Department of Health advises, be extra careful when preparing, handling and storing food outside. For example, raw meats that will not be cooked right away should be placed in leak-proof containers and then into an insulated cooler. Also, consider putting a few of the drinks that can be safely frozen into the freezer before heading out to the park or picnic site; they can be used as ice packs in the coolers.