Edible Table Arrangement: Using Produce as a Centerpiece
Edible Produce Arrangements in a Centerpiece
If you're entertaining during the holidays or any time of year, of course you want a beautiful centerpiece for your table. You might already have a beautiful candelabra, but have you ever noticed how hard it is to see your guests across the table? For the holidays there are plenty of centerpieces you can buy. But do you really want the same old turkey or Santa that everyone else has? Of course, you can always go out and buy a flower arrangement. However, besides being expensive, floral arrangements can be toxic. It's very difficult to find an organic floral arrangement because the FDA does not regulate flowers.
If you're trying to keep your household green, one of the best ideas for a centerpiece is to create your own edible arrangement. Don't picture those sugar-sweet fruit and chocolate confections. While the skills you use to make one of these produce-based arrangements can transfer to making a dessert-ready centerpiece, you're going to be using ingredients. Design your edible arrangement using beautiful, peak-fresh produce that you can later use in a delicious dish.
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Materials Needed for Edible Produce Arrangement
The produce you use for your centerpiece will depend on a few things. First of all, what produce is in season. For Thanksgiving, use squash, pumpkins, Indian corn, turnips, onions and even pretty potatoes like baby Yukon golds or Peruvian blues. For Christmas, use pomegranates, persimmons, figs and quince. Come spring, make use of baby vegetable such as mini squash and artichokes and garnish with squash blossoms.
- mason jars
- bamboo skewers
- fresh produce
- leafy produce such as kale or dandelion
- broccoli or some other large vegetable for anchoring
- decorative stones
Directions for Edible Produce Arrangement
Creating an edible produce arrangement involves a lot of trial and error.
- Measure leaves against jar. Clean leaf away from the part of the stem going into the jar.
- Pour water into mason jar. Add decorative stones if using them.
- Arrange two or three leaves in the jar. Bend them gently so they go over the lip of the jar.
- Add broccoli, cauliflower or other anchoring vegetable.
- Experiment with placement of decorative produce. Try to balance color and shape on all sides of the arrangement.
- Insert skewer into decorative produce. Cut skewer as necessary for chosen placement.
- Keep adding decorative produce until your arrangement looks balanced. You will likely use four to six pieces for a small jar and up to ten for a large jar.
- Tie decorative ribbon around jar, if using.
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Use at least two different types of leafy produce to create interesting effects. Keep in mind both shape and color.
Choose sturdy, dense decorative produce. Pieces that are still a little green work best.
Insert skewer at an angle to avoid making decorative produce look like it is sitting on a shelf.
Using the Edible Produce Arrangement in a Centerpiece
If you are seating two to four people at your table, the edible produce arrangement alone is probably enough as a centerpiece. However, for larger tables, use the edible produce arrangement to create a larger centerpiece.
As with creating the arrangement, creating a bigger centerpiece requires trial and error.
- decorative platter or cutting board
- 1-3 produce arrangements in mason jars
- 2-3 votive candles
- 1 bunch of leafy greens, such as kale or dandelion leaves -- rosemary sprigs would work well
- in-season produce
Just like with the produce arrangement, you want a variety of colors and textures. For the centerpiece you can use more delicate produce. Keep it in the refrigerator until just before your dinner party starts.
- Place produce arrangements on platter. Aim for variety in height.
- Wrap leafy greens in twine. Place in the center between produce arrangements.
- Arrange votive candles, taking care not to place too close to drooping leaves.
- Arrange in-season produce.
If using a pomegranate, cut a wedge out to display the beautiful seeds. You can also empty the seeds into a wine glass and use as part of the display.
Create a pile of small produce in one corner to give the centerpiece interest.
If using rosemary, place near votive to release scent.
Ideas for Decorative Produce
mini squash, squash blossoms, artichokes, strawberries, apricots
nectarines, peaches, plums,
squash, pumpkin, Indian corn, turnips, radishes, crab apples, rhubarb
pomegranate, quince, persimmons, oranges, figs, meyer lemons, mandarines, turnips, radishes, carrots
Using Food as Decoration
What do you think of using food as decoration?
Winter Edible Arrangement Dish
In your winter edible arrangement you've probably used items such as kale, carrots, radishes, pomegranate and some of the other fruits. One idea is to use the kale and pomegranate in delicious salad.
- 1/2 bunch kale
- 2 c salad greens
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 4 medium radishes, cut into matchsticks
- leftover roast beef or steak
- 1/4 c pomegranate juice
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- 3 T olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 c pomegranate seeds
Whisk together pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper,
Mix together kale and salad greens. Top with steak or roast beef.
Drizzle salad dressing over salad. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
© 2013 Nadia Archuleta