Friday, May 10, 2013

Homemade Fruit Bouquet

It's time to get down to serious Mother's day business. This year my Mom actually made a request, which is unusual for her: a mixed CD and a scarf. Isn't it funny how something so simple can be so appreciated? I love making playlists for family members with songs connected to special memories or meaningful words. This has always been the song Mom and I share. How could one refuse this simple request? But also, how could one not add a little something extra? ;) 

I love giving things that are useful, and don't have to be stored long term. I also try to avoid loading people with sugar as a gift: Thanks for being awesome Mom. Please accept this gift of high blood pressure and an unhealthy dose of bad cholesterol. Love you! Yeah, not so much. But there is an alternative! A fruit bouquet is the perfect blend of all things healthy, useful, and beautiful. It can be expensive to buy one pre-made, but not expensive at all to make yourself. Plus, it's great semi-last minute idea. Not that anyone ever does that...

PS. I made a (questionable) photo back drop! ^^ Look at that effort.

The secret is:

A metal cookie cutter. This one was 99 cents at Joann's. 

Besides the fruit and the cookie cutter, you'll also need:
  • bamboo skewers (I liked the natural look, but soak them in water with a little green food coloring if you want them to look more like stems)
  • medium sized jar (A cleaned Starbucks frappuccino bottle worked perfectly) 
  • a little ribbon or rafia (to make it fancy)
  • melon baller (or small paring knife and mad sculpting skills)

The fresh fruit recommended for this simple arrangement:
  • whole pineapple
  • strawberries 
  • green grapes
  • cantaloupe
The first and hardest step is preparing the pineapple.

Cut off the top of your pineapple but don't throw it away just yet. Flip the rest of the pineapple upside-down on the flat, cut side. Carefully remove the rind in segments saving the bottom section to cut off last. You don't need to worry about removing the center. Slice your pineapple into sections anywhere from 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Use your secret weapon (cookie cutter) to push into the slices and create the flower shapes. Push a bamboo skewer through the tough center at a slight angle until it pokes through about 1/2".  You can add a little variety by cutting the skewers to different lengths and arranging the other fruit around them. Add the fruit to the jar as it's prepared so you can tell how much more you're going to need. Four pineapple flowers was perfect for a jar this size.

Next, put grapes and strawberries on skewers. Couldn't be easier. This jar held  4 grape skewers and 3 strawberry skewers.

Cut the cantaloupe using the larger side of a melon baller to create the center of the flowers. It works best if one side is flat. Use the tiny bit of skewer poking through the top center of the pineapple flowers to keep the cantaloupe in place.

Now it's time to get fancy.

Arrange your flowers how you like them. I'm not particularly good at this, so I'm sure your's will look a lot cuter. After you're satisfied with the arrangement, carefully pull out the longest leaves from the top of the pineapple. Slide one leaf at a time inside the jar, staying outside of the skewers until they are all the way around the inside, which took about 6 or 7 leaves. Add a ribbon or rafia bow and you're finished!
A different challenge in making your own fruit arrangement verses buying it is wrapping it up. If possible, just put it in the fridge how it is to keep until you present it. If you need to cover it up for any reason, it's easy enough to use a plastic grocery bag carefully tied around the top and remove it before gifting. Or go all out and get a cellophane bag with some extra rafia.

Do you have a special song with your Mom? What other fruit would you want to incorporate? I'd love to know.

Sheila :)

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