Anyone can chop up ingredients for a fruit salad, but it takes talent and patience to elevate fruit cutting to an art form. As with any hobby, practice makes perfect. That being said, even those with no prior fruit-cutting experience can make beautiful cut pieces of fruit for fruit trays or garnishes.
A knife is the most common tool used for decorative fruit cutting. You'll want to select a paring knife with a pointed tip and comfortable grip. You can carve firm fruits like apples and pears in much the same way you would whittle wood. Alternatively, by making very shallow incisions with the knife, you can create designs by removing pieces of skin from the flesh of the fruit. For visual examples on how to create a checkerboard pattern or a simple carved apple bunny, check out Just Bento.
For detailed, delicate work, you may want to supplement your paring knife with pumpkin carving knife tools, available at major retailers during October.
A regular vegetable peeler can be used to create long ribbons of peel, rind or flesh. These long ribbons can be tied into decorative bows around other pieces of fruit, or can be cut into shorter strips and used as decorative filler for a fruit plate, almost as you would use decorative grass to fill an Easter basket.
Cookie cutters are an easy way to create decorative shapes with minimal skill or effort needed, and this method is also good for creating seasonal shapes for the holidays, Halloween or the 4th of July. You will need to cut some fruits into relatively flat blocks for best results, so cookie cutter fruit cutting works especially well on whole pineapples, chunks of melon or thin slices of apple. One creative way to use these pieces is to cut flower-shaped pieces of pineapple, and top them with hulled strawberries to create a three-dimensional flower that can be placed on the end of a long bamboo skewer to emulate a daffodil.
Melon ballers are the easiest way to create spherical decorative elements for your fruit salad or fruit tray, far easier than trying to carve a sphere with a knife or peeler. Melon ballers come in several sizes, which can add a lot of visual interest to the plate.
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