Picnic season in Minnesota means it’s time to grab our baskets, blankets and jars. Yes, you heard me right, jars. Mason jars filled with delightful fare, that is. Jars are an eco-friendly way to reduce waste when dining al fresco by eliminating the use of paper products. They also help keep everything contained, which means they are easily portable and make cleanup a breeze. If you have never tried a picnic-in-a-jar, consider trying these five simple recipes for your next outdoor adventure.
Tips to Try:
- Use recycled jars from salsas or sauces for your picnic if you don’t have mason jars handy.
- If possible, use wide mouth jars to easily access the contents.
- Prepare your jars the day before and refrigerate until you’re ready to pack your picnic.
- Bring cooling packs and an insulated bag or cooler to keep the jars fresh.
- Bring cloth napkins and reusable serving utensils.
- Bring your favorite insulated water bottle to stay hydrated.
- Bring a comfy blanket to spread out on.
Jar Fruit Salad
- ¼ cup blueberries
- ¼ cup grapes
- ¼ cup quartered strawberries
- ¼ cup cut cantaloupe pieces
- ¼ cup raspberries
Fill a large jar with a handful of each type of fruit and store it covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to pack your picnic. You can substitute your favorite fruits cut into similar sized pieces. Place more delicate fruits such as raspberries and blackberries at the top of the jar.
Veggies with Dill Dip in a Jar
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried dill
- 1 large carrot
- ½ English cucumber
Add sour cream, lemon juice, minced garlic clove, salt and dried dill into a small bowl, and stir to combine. Cut the carrot and cucumber into sticks tall enough to fit inside a medium sized mason jar. Add dill dip to the bottom of the mason jar, filling halfway. Place cut vegetables vertically into the mason jar so that they are standing in the dip. Store the jar covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to pack your picnic.
Leafy Salad in a Jar
- 2 – 4 tablespoons salad dressing
- ¼ cup quartered grape tomatoes
- ¼ medium cucumber, diced
- ¼ cup canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 tablespoon feta cheese
- ¼ cup shredded red cabbage
- ½ cup leafy lettuce
Place 2 to 4 tablespoons (depending on how much you prefer) of your favorite dressing into the bottom of a large mason jar. Add grape tomatoes and cucumbers on top of the dressing and then add the chickpeas and feta cheese. Top with the cabbage and leafy lettuce. Store covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to pack your picnic. Assembling the salad in this order will ensure that the ingredients with more liquid will stay at the bottom and the lettuce at the top will remain fresh and crisp until you are ready to eat your salad. To eat, simply give the jar a shake to mix the ingredients or pour into a serving bowl and mix together.
Jarcuterie – aka Charcuterie in a Jar
A jarcuterie brings the fun of a charcuterie board to your picnic but with everything placed neatly into a jar. Store covered and refrigerated until you are ready to pack your picnic. Make sure to keep your jarcuterie in a cooler or insulated bag with cooling packs before eating.
Consider adding a combination of these ingredients to your next jarcuterie:
- Cheese cubes
- Pita chips
- Cured meats
- Dried cranberries
Strawberry Shortcake Jars
- 4 store bought shortcakes
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 1 cup quartered strawberries
- sugar (optional)
- 4 small mason jars
Place one shortcake at the bottom of a mason jar and top with ¼ cup whipped cream and ¼ cup strawberries. Repeat with the following mason jars until all four are assembled. Optionally, sprinkle the top of the strawberries with a pinch of sugar. Store covered and refrigerated until you are ready to pack your picnic. Make sure to keep your jars in a cooler or insulated bag with cooling packs before eating so that the whipped cream does not melt.