Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not into cooking.
However, I am fascinated with creating fun things with fruit.
I took the plunge when I hosted my son’s wedding several years ago and carved watermelon baskets (filled with fruit) for the mid-August reception (which came out well). So this year when I was looking for something unique — yet practical — to give to my parents for Christmas, the idea of fruit arose again.
Everyone’s probably heard about edible fruit bouquets. They’re pricey, though, ($50 – $100+) and I don’t know too many people who’ve ever received one.
Saw a photo of one somewhere recently and thought, “Wait! Maybe I could make that! It’d be a one-of-a-kind gift my parents probably never saw before. And it’d definitely be a conversation piece.”
Went out and bought pineapples, strawberries, purple seedless grapes, and cantaloupe (all fruits I like) for the trial bouquet. It wasn’t cheap ($33), but I figured I could make at least two bouquets with that much fruit — and it would be a learning experience.
Found a small, wide ceramic container that sort of looked like a low vase at a thrift store, and ran it through the dishwasher. And bought a pack of wooden skewers (which was hard to find in Walmart). I asked five employees who didn’t know where they were and finally mentioned it to a customer; she knew right where they were and went and got a pack for me!
Bought some green floral foam at the dollar store, cut it with scissors to fit the container, and inserted it. Then I covered the foam with aluminum foil to ensure the fruit never touched it.
Bought kale and used it to cover the foil with a pretty, ruffly skirt.
My friend R came over one evening and in about an hour and a half, we’d chopped, shaped, and skewered each type of fruit. We cut the whole pineapple in slices and shaped them into flowers using a cookie cutter. Then we used a melon ball tool to create the round centers of the flowers from cantaloupe.
We lined about eight grapes on each skewer, and peeled and cut cantaloupe into curved shapes.
To make chocolate strawberries, we simply melted dark chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave for about a minute, then skewered a strawberry and twirled it in the chocolate. (Tip: the strawberry must be dry to adhere to the chocolate, so wipe it with a paper towel before twirling it.)
You’ll need to let the chocolate-covered fruit dry for a few minutes before continuing. Insert the skewers in the holes of an upside-down colander and set it on a refrigerator shelf. When the chocolate hardens (it doesn’t take long), add those skewers to the bouquet.
Arranging the fruit is the “creative” part. If you look online, there are plenty of fruit bouquet images to get ideas from. You can even shape the fruit like a Christmas tree.
The bouquets are big, though, so it takes a fair amount of refrigerator space to store them once they’re assembled. (For that reason, it would be best to make the bouquet shortly before you plan to serve it.)
Otherwise, you could remove the individual skewers and store the fruit in plastic containers, then re-insert them later. (I tried wrapping the fruit skewers in foil after the “reveal” so we could fit other food on the frig shelf, and that didn’t work very well.)
R and I gave our “test” fruit bouquet to her son and daughter-in-law, who live next door to me, and several days later I used the remaining fruit and made the fruit bouquet gift before my parents arrived for Christmas. It took about two hours to cut and create it myself, after the practice run. And it was fun!
During the whole holiday, we ate fruit from sticks at every meal! It was definitely something different and out of the ordinary…
Fruit bouquets would make a great gift for Mother’s Day, a birthday, a shower, or any occasion.
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