With real spring weather finally settling in, it’s time to add more fruit to the table. Making a fruit platter might sound simple but for some reason, even the most creative of us often feel lost and perplexed when faced with the challenge. We’re expected to grab a bunch of fruit and make something cute and visually appealing out of it. Most of the time, I end up peeling/slicing/chopping everything up and gracefully (not!) spreading it on the tray.
But recently I decided to try out a couple of new tricks to step up my fruit game.
Whether you’re planning a picnic for two or hosting a big and loud dinner party, here are some ideas on how to approach a fruity dessert in a more creative and open-minded way. Spring is in the air, darlings!
B is for Baby Hedgehog (and for Vitamin B-6)
What you need: grapes, a pear, some blueberries.
Fruit art tools: peeler, paring knife (short & sharp blade), toothpicks.
Is your little niece having a birthday party? Will your dinner guests appreciate this unconventional approach to the fresh fruit platter? Do you want to surprise friends or your significant other with a so-weird-and-random-that-it’s-kinda-cool healthy dessert? Then this fruit design is for you.
Step 1: Use a peeler to peel about 2/3 of a pear. Then help your pear find its center of gravity by cutting off a thin but long slice to the side of the stem and placing the flat side on the plate so that your pear remains stable.
Step 2: Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines and you’ll make them using short toothpicks and grapes. Ideally, ¼ of each toothpick will be sticking out, ½ will be covered by the grape, and the remaining ¼ will be inside the unpeeled part of the pear, securely holding the “spine.”
Step 3: Now it’s all about the minor details. Place a bigger blueberry on the pear’s stem to make a hedgehog’s “nose.” Smaller berries, or alternatively, dark chocolate chips, will be perfect for the spiny mammal’s “eyes.” And voila!
What you need: apples (duh!)
Fruit art tools: a paring knife (short & sharp blade) and some creativity.
Apples are a perfect canvas for trying out your creative fruit design ideas. Science has long ago proven the health benefits of apples and there are so many apple varietes that everyone can find the right combination of sweet and sour that best pleases their taste buds. And on a practical side, apples are easy to cut into and quite small in size so carving shouldn’t take too long.
Design options are limitless: carve out the first letter of your name and you have a personalized monogrammed apple; stripes and checkerboard patterns are simple but very aesthetically pleasing; carving out hearts, flowers or other trickier shapes might be more time-consuming but totally worth it.
That said, I will leave the design up to your imagination but instead give you some useful tips on how to best preserve your carved apples. After all, you want to display your apple art in all its glory when the dinner party guests arrive.
Advice 1: Do not carve too deeply into apples. The deeper the cut, the quicker it will brown.
Advice 2: Mix some lemon juice with water and sprinkle the mixture over each carved apple. The acid in the juice will make a carved pattern stay fresh and white for hours.
Advice 3: Cover your carved apples in food wrap and keep them in the fridge before it’s party time!
Fruity Bouquet aka Bouquet of Antioxidants
What you need: green seedless grapes, pineapple, blueberries (any other berries will do).
Fruit art tools: long picks (like wooden barbecue skewers), paring knife, a vase for serving.
Fresh fruit platter is a common item on a dinner party menu. But this bouquet will be a truly unique centerpiece for your dessert table.
Step 1: Cut off the top of the pineapple.
Step 2: Slice the fruit into ~1 inch rings, leaving the stem intact so that each ring still has the stem in the middle of it.
Step 3: Using your paring knife, carefully cut out a flower shape, one pineapple ring at a time. You can also use a flower-shaped cookie cutter for this.
Step 4: Set the grapes on a long pick to create your flower’s “stem,” then pierce the middle of your pineapple flower with a pick and add a blueberry—or another berry—on top for the “pistil” (middle school bio class, anyone?).
Step 5: Make enough flowers to accommodate all dinner party guests and arrange them in a vase. If the longest picks you could find aren’t long enough for the pineapple flowers to peek out of the vase, cover the bottom of the vase with extra grapes to make it less deep.
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