According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sale of fresh-cut fruit is experiencing unprecedented market growth. You can join the trend by making your own fresh-cut fruit baskets as an edible focal point for your table or a healthy hostess-gift fruit 'bouquet.' A fresh-fruit basket is also the launching point for a learning experience; make a basket with children, and get a healthy snack and a botany experiment at the same time.
Today's trendy fruit baskets include a basket made from fruit, filled with colorful cut fruit pieces. Professionals at Distinct Gift Baskets recommend starting with a sturdy fruit which you can cut into a handle and basket, such as a small watermelon or a honeydew. For personal cut-fruit baskets, start with a grapefruit or large orange. Use a marker to demarcate the area to be cut away, starting a bit over half-way up the side of the melon or citrus fruit, and be sure to leave a strip up over the top for a handle. Use a short, sharp knife to cut away the peel or rind from the area to be removed, then either cut the melon out in chunks or use a melon-baller to remove fruit spheres. Use the knife to carefully cut out the inside of the grapefruit or orange. Mix the melon or citrus with other fruits in bright hues and interesting shapes. Pare away a thin slice from the bottom of the melon or citrus basket so it stands upright and refill it with sliced and chopped fruit.
Fruit Basket Arrangement
The Iowa State University Extension recommends serving a 'fruit basket on a stick' by lining up rainbow-hued slices of red apple, orange, banana, and kiwi on a toothpick, topped with a maraschino cherry. Turn these sticks into floral-like arrangements by substituting long bamboo skewers for the toothpicks. Pare a slice from the bottom of a small melon so it stands upright, then cut a small circle from the top to make a 'vase'. Skewer flower-like stacks of fruit slices, then stick the skewer into the melon 'vase'.
Fruit Basket Lessons
The University of New Hampshire Sustainable Horticulture program recommends using a fruit basket as a way to generate a healthy snack for children while serving up a lesson in botany. Select a ceramic or plastic 'basket' for your cut fruit, or create a melon basket. Obtain fruits with different types of seeds, such as pitted fruit, citrus fruit, and a pear or apple as well as melon, grapes, berries, and even a coconut or pineapple. Take a hard look at each fruit with the children before you cut it up, and discuss what type of plant that fruit grows on, and in what part of the world. Cut each fruit up and examine the seeds, laying the seeds out in a row to compare their sizes and shapes. Put the cut fruit in the basket and serve it for lunch or a snack. Later, play a memory game and see who can remember which seeds came from which fruit.