Edible arrangements add a new spin to the time-honored tradition of sending flowers. Purchasing the bouquets from a specialty shop can cost a small fortune, but creating them at home and delivering them yourself saves money and adds a personal touch. The possibilities and varieties of fruit blooms you can make are limited only by your imagination.
Your fruit bouquet begins with a decorative bowl or wide-mouthed vase. Because fruit arrangements weigh more than flowers, you'll need to anchor the bowl or vase with decorative stones or marbles. On top of those, you'll need a foam block to support the "stems." Some people use half a melon or a head of lettuce in place of the foam block to make more of the arrangement edible. You'll also need cookie cutters, an assortment of fruit and wooden skewers.
Choosing the Fruit
Edible arrangements are typically made from firm, colorful fruits that can hold their shape well. Examples include pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries and grapes. Softer fruits and fruits that oxidize quickly, such as bananas and raspberries, aren't the best choices. Choose fruits that can withstand being cut with a cookie cutter and skewered with a stick.
Creating the Shapes
The easiest way to create shapes for your arrangement is to use cookie cutters. Classic flower shapes work well, as do hearts, triangles, pumpkins, snowmen and basic snowflakes. Basic shapes are best, as intricate cookie cutters tend to make sloppy shapes. Slice the fruits into 2 inch-thick pieces and simply punch out the shapes. You can also create accent circles with melon and a melon baller. Use a knife to create optional accent pieces, such as thick, chunky squares, with the leftover fruit. Leave berries and grapes whole.
Assembling the Blooms
Creating the flowers is similar to creating meat and vegetable skewers for the grill. Leave the bottom third of the wooden sticks empty, and skewer combinations of whole grapes and strawberries, fruit shapes and cut-outs. Add interest by placing fruit cut-outs directly at the top of some skewers. Create other skewers with no cut-outs and just chunks of fruit and grapes or strawberries to add interest and variety. There's no wrong way to assemble an edible fruit arrangement.
Creating the Arrangement
Once you've created a variety of fruit flowers and accent pieces, start arranging them in the bowl or vase by pressing the skewers into the foam or melon base. Place taller pieces directly in the center by only pressing them in an inch or two, just enough to keep them supported. Press the blooms at the outer edges into the base a few more inches to create a bouquet with varying heights where none of the skewers completely block or hide the others. Arranging the blooms in this fashion creates a fuller-looking bouquet that hides the majority of the wooden skewers.
To add additional interest, color and flavor, include marshmallows, squares of cake or other treats on your skewers. Try moistening marshmallows with water and rolling them in sprinkles for color. You can also dip the fruit in melted chocolate that will harden as it cools. Lollipops and other candies on sticks add fun and color as well.
A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.