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The traditional Memorial Day picnic spread is great – it’s hard to argue with tradition. This year, however, we decided to keep the menu but ditch the recipes. Remember our Thanksgiving Twist guide from 2010? This is the summer version. We’re taking four traditional picnic menu items — fruit salad, potato salad, iced tea and hamburgers — and adding a new spin.

Although trying all of these new variations at a single party may upset a few people, you could just try one or two. Go ahead — shake things up a bit over the Tupperware this season.

Three-berry fruit salad with basil-mint syrup

by Caitlin Saniga

I love the idea that some of these ingredients can likely come from your very own garden. For me, I just had mint this time of year. But give it a couple of weeks, and I might have been able to use my basil and wild raspberries from the yard. I thought about using the mulberries from behind the house, too. This dish is very flexible. Use berries that are in season.

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries or blackberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Whisk together the honey, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the fruit, basil and mint. Pour the syrup over the mixture, and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Gal Time

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Layered citrus-apple salad with honey-ginger syrup

by Sarah Steimer

A little sweet and very sour – thanks to those grapefruit. If you’d rather people not have to pull the grapefruit rinds off themselves, be sure to slice those off before serving.

  • 1 grapefruit, sliced horizontally
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced horizontally
  • 2 clementines, peeled and separated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling if desired
  • 1/4 cup water

Layer with alternating grapefruit and apple slices. Add the clementine sections throughout.

Whisk together the minced ginger, honey and water. Sprinkle the syrup over the fruit. Refrigerate for at least one hour so the syrup has time to soak into the fruit.

Serve drizzled with additional honey, if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Alfresco Refreshed is our spin on four traditional picnic staples: fruit salad, potato salad, iced tea and hamburgers. You can find all the recipes here.

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