Look to your produce drawer or fruit bowl when you need to put the finishing touch on your table spread. Use fruits and vegetables to make attractive centerpiece decorations ranging from edible flower arrangements to seasonal cornucopias. Fruits and vegetables you used can often later be used in your favorite recipes, or you can eat the fruits and vegetables while they are on display.
Flowers and Bouquets
Fruits such as strawberries, pineapples and grapes and a wide range of vegetables work well for making edible flowers to decorate a table. For simple flowers, use flower-shaped cookie cutters to make basic flowers from pieces of watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple or cucumber. Push the flowers onto skewers with a grape or blueberry to complete the flower center. Bell peppers with scalloped edges and a button mushroom at the center make easy tulips. Cut several slits in a strawberry, starting at the base and working toward the tip, to make edible roses. Similarly, you can roll long strips of tomato peel, carrot and cucumber into vegetable roses. Arrange several varieties of these flowers in a vase or basket to make a bouquet or place single flowers beside each place setting.
Celebrate the fall harvest season with a cornucopia table centerpiece. The simplest method is to simply insert small fruits and vegetables in a horn-shaped basket so they spill out onto the table. Small pumpkins and other gourds, apples, pears and grapes are all commonly used in cornucopias, but you can add persimmons if they're in season toward the end of fall. If you prefer the centerpiece to be moveable as a single unit, stick a piece of foam block inside the basket. Push the small fruits and vegetables onto skewers and insert the opposite end of the skewers into the foam block. Add small berries and colorful leaves around the fruits and vegetables to fill in the arrangement.
A large edible carving makes an attractive statement piece at the center of the table. Use watermelons in the summer or pumpkins in autumn. If you're just starting out with carving, keep it simple with a carved fruit bowl that can double as a centerpiece and serving dish for a fruit salad. Use a baby carriage for a baby shower decoration, a shark for a summer party, or a simple bowl with a scalloped edge. If you have advanced skills and a precision knife set, you can make watermelons and pumpkins look like roses, birds, and even portraits. The technique requires removing different layers of the watermelon or pumpkin. With a watermelon, for example, you can have dark green, pale green, white, pink and red, depending on how much of the rind is removed.
Pair fruits and vegetables with the ambient glow of candlelight for a table decoration that offers both form and function. One of the simplest methods is to simply cut open a fruit or vegetable, remove the insides, and replace the insides with a candle. Us small votive candles inside bell pepper cups, or carve an apple or orange with a hole just large enough to insert a candlestick or tea light. For a candle holder with texture and color, remove the inner layers of an artichoke to make room for a pillar candle. Bend a piece of hardware cloth into a cylinder to use as a form for attaching smaller fruits and vegetables. Vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli have stems that you can push through the grid patterns, but you might need to push a piece of wire through some foods.
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