7 Summer Picnic Ideas Inspired By Caribbean Fruit And Veg
Eating outdoors is one of summer’s greatest pleasures, especially when you can meet up with friends and family. After months of restrictions, it’s nicer than ever to pack a summer picnic and head out for an al fresco afternoon. To enjoy a more exotic taste, why not plan a Caribbean picnic to tempt the taste buds?
Taste of the tropics
From Jamaican jerk spices to Trinidadian street fare, there are many choices when it comes to preparing a Caribbean picnic. Here are seven ideas for dishes, snacks and cheeky summer cocktails that can easily be prepared. Especially if you regularly have a Caribbean fruit and veg box delivered – so much inspiration!
This perfectly seasoned grilled jerk chicken dish is covered in a Jamaican jerk marinade that conjures up the Caribbean from the first bite.
It can be cooked in advance and allowed to cool before being packed up for the summer picnic. Make up a large, fresh salad to have with it. You could include some Caribbean fruit and veg such as mangoes, plantains or peppers to give the dish a colourful, exotic feel.
Fried plantains are incredibly versatile and are one of the best Caribbean picnic ideas around. Plan them as a side dish or a main meal for any vegetarians in the party. They are so satisfying to eat with a crunchy coating and soft insides. They go really well with rice and beans, which can also be made in advance. You can also use plantains to make pancakes, breads and chips for a tasty, tropical alternative to some picnic must-haves.
Ackee and saltfish egg rolls
Another Jamaican classic and the perfect appetiser for summer picnic or garden party. Prepare the saltfish and ackee in advance and combine them with tasty ingredients, such as peppers, onions, garlic and herbs.
Turn them into egg rolls by filling special wraps with the mixture and frying them until they are golden brown. These can be made the night before and kept crisp in an airtight container. Make sure you make plenty, as they will be very popular with everyone at the summer picnic.
This classic street food staple makes an excellent alternative to sandwiches. It is made using two flatbreads called baras that are filled with a curried chickpea mixture known as channa. They can be spiced up with salt, pepper, tamarind sauce or mango chutney. You can buy ready-made baras or make your own. Doubles are assembled in the same way as sandwiches and are great for vegetarians looking for a delicious summer picnic dish.
No list of Caribbean picnic ideas is complete without some options for dessert. Toto is a moreish Jamaican cake made from flour, sugar, grated coconut, butter and eggs. You can add spices too, such as allspice, nutmeg and ginger, as well as rum and/or raisins to taste. The cake is baked in advance and cut into squares for people to enjoy.
Another sweet treat comes in the form of peanut brittle. This is made by boiling peanuts in water with brown sugar and chopped ginger.
The liquid becomes sticky and turn into a caramel-like consistency. The mixture is left to cool and harden before being chopped into smaller pieces for snacking on. A quick and easy treat to make for any summer picnic.
For an indulgent adult summer picnic, don’t forget to include some Caribbean-themed cocktails. You can mix these in advance and bring them in cocktail shakers carried in a cool box. Many are based on rum, the ubiquitous exotic tipple. To make nutmeg espresso martinis, combine Grenadian rum with kahlua (coffee liqueur), cold brew coffee and nutmeg syrup. Shake well, add ice if you have it and dust with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Relax with a chilli and coconut mojito by mixing Grenadian rum with lime, chilli syrup and coco lopez. Add crushed ice and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Or sip on a grapefruit and marzipan daiquiri. Mix rum with some blackberry syrup, one-eighth of a crushed grapefruit and the juice from a whole lime Add some Orgeat syrup (a non-alcoholic syrup made with almonds, sugar and rose or orange water). Strain the mixture into an ice-filled, sugar-rimmed glass, if you can organise these at your picnic.
For the kids, mix tropical fruit smoothies using blends of fresh ingredients available in a Caribbean fruit and veg box. Good fruit options include pineapples, mangoes, oranges, papayas, apricots and guavas. Add ice and decorate the glasses for an extra special touch. Read more about Caribbean fruit and veg suitable for summer picnic
- Joanne Crossley