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Decorate with food
Make pretty — and tasty — bouquet from fruit
In this arrangement by Cathy Vann, daffodils are made from melon chunks over strawberries attached to a scalloped slice of pineapple cut by a cookie cutter. A butterfly has wings made of pineapple, also cut from a cookie cutter, with strawberry slices and antennae made from grape stems.
Why go through all the trouble to create art — just so it can be eaten?
Why not? was more the attitude of Thursday’s class at the Spencer-Penn Center. Low cost and unique looks make edible arrangements great as centerpieces or gifts, said Melanie Barrow.
Barrow, a Virginia Cooperative Extension Horticulture Agent, gave the presentation “Edible Arrangements” for the Seniors in the Know program.
She started out by showing how to buy the materials at a low cost at local stores. Fruits, cutlery, foam, clay and a bowl can be purchased for $15, which was the fee of the workshop.
Wood skewers hold up arrangements of fruit, imitating the appearance of flowers in a bouquet. The fruit can be cut in any variety of shapes to resemble petals, leaves, buds and other things.
The arrangement starts with a container. Barrow chose a small bowl with edges higher than most bowls. The “upright and round containers” are ideal, she said, because they support the parts of the arrangement.
Next, a small amount of children’s modeling clay must be “smushed into the bottom,” said Barrow. This will create an adhesive-like base upon which to place a small piece of floral foam.
Leaves of lettuce, kale or even pineapple are placed on top of the foam in order to conceal it.
At this point, creativity takes over. Fruit such as melons, honeydew, strawberries, grapes, tangerines, cantaloupes and star fruit all lend unique shapes and color.
The fruit is cut into shapes with sharp knives, melon scoops or cookie cutters. Cookie cutters can cut slices to resemble flowers, stars, hearts and butterflies.
Grapes are great for filling in the arrangement, said Barrow. They can cover the stick if only one piece of fruit is at the tip of the skewer.
Barrow recommended that the dull end of the skewer be inserted into the foam and that the sharper end of the stick should be used to puncture the fruit. “You’re going to have to kinda drill it on,” she said.
Slick fruits, such as melons, are likely to slide down from their intended positions. Barrow’s solution for this is to cut carrot discs and use them as stoppers.
Fruit cut too thick can make the arrangement unstable. For that reason, it is better to make the arrangement thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top. It is also best to slip the sticks in at an angle, Barrow added.
A fun trick transforms strawberries into little tulip: Cut a small wedge slice out of the tip and sides of the strawberry.
Don’t make an edible arrangement more than 24 hours before it is needed, Barrow said. Keep it fresh by covering it in plastic.