What’s one of the most nutritious gift you can give a loved one for Valentine’s Day or any other day to celebrate? It’s an edible fruit arrangement. After all flowers won’t last more than a few days. It’s great for celebrations, birthdays, Mother’s Day, or any other event or reason to give a gift of fruit–either fresh fruit creations or make your own dried fruit attractions. Do fruit arrangements as gifts or even offer them to event planners as your own small business. Also, see this same article at my daily nutrition column on Examiner.com: How to create or buy edible fruit arrangements for Valentine’s Day or events – Sacramento Nutrition | Examiner.com .
Flowers with roots on them eventually get put in the garden and soon lose their bloom or are taken for granted. But for that one day, an edible fruit arrangement brings raw fruit healthy eating to a loved one. Make your own fruit topiary tree for a Valentine’s Day buffet table. Raw, fresh fruit arrangements make great gifts. See, How to Make a Fruit Topiary Tree. You can even look into acquiring a franchise on making edible arrangements. Or simply order an edible fruit arrangement for a loved one.
In Sacramento, Edible Arrangements is located at 2681 El Paseo Lane, Sacramento. For further information and their phone number or other store locations, see the company’s website, Edible Arrangements. Edible Arrangements® Fruit Baskets, Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
Checkout the company’s Valentines Day fruit baskets. Visit an Edible Arrangements store. They’re open seven days a week. One of the company’s stores is located in Sacramento at 2681 El Paseo Lane. The company has 955 stores worldwide. Try the fruit salads and arrangements for various holidays such as Mother’s Day, Teacher’s Day, Nurse’s Day, Graduations–or see their kids at heart collection.
Giving your loved one an edible fruit arrangement is a healthy way to encourage the eating of fresh, raw fruit, especially berries and melons. You have a choice of edible arrangements made as Fresh Fruit Salads, Fresh Fruit Parfaits, Strawberries, Dipped Fruit, Oranges, Apples, Pineapple, Pears, or FruSundaes.®
There’s also fresh fruit dipped in gourmet chocolate and other edibles made from fresh raw fruit arranged artfully. Also drinks made with lemon or lime juice include Fruithys,®FruZees, and ®FruJuice.® If you want to make your own edible fruit arrangements in an artful manner, you can build a wide variety of shapes made from blueberries, strawberries, or dark red cherries.
How to Make Your Own Edible Fruit Arrangements
How you make your own is to put evenly-cut melon chunks and berries on long wooden skewer sticks stuck into a base of styrofoam or other round craft bases from a local craft store such as Michael’s in Sacramento. Insert the base into an object your mom can use later such as a plant watering garden can that’s painted an attractive color such as pink, pastels, or red. Don’t use apple slices as they’ll turn brown.
You can soak them in lemon juice to keep them white for a while, but never use apple whitener containing sulfites that might trigger an asthma attack in someone allergic to the sulfites in various types of apple whiteners. Lemon juice is what you’d want to dip apples in. But in a fruit arrangement, avoid fruits that turn brown when they are cut such as bananas and apples.
Use dark pigmented berries such as blueberries, dark red cherries, dark purple grapes, strawberries, melon chunks, and pineapples. Avoid blackberries because the seeds get in people’s teeth. Kiwi also works great on a fruit arrangement to add a touch of green wheels.
Then build your berries and melon chunks as you’d build a tree on the wooden skewers stuck into the styrofoam base. Keep the fruit arrangement refrigerated until you bring it to mom. Don’t let fresh cut raw fruit stay longer than overnight in your refrigerator without delivering, or the fruit will start to wilt and weep.
When your loved one finishes eating the edible fruit arrangement that’s built as if it were a tree with branches, build out the berries so that they are as wide as the base. Use a lot of color such as checkering the skewers with chunks of melon next to dark blue berries or cherries next to yellow fruit. Arrange pineapple, melon, and mango chunks, for example in between blueberries and strawberries.
The entire arrangement would resemble a decorated bush or tree. Use raw fruit. Berries dipped in chocolate would crack on a skewer. So if you’re dipping strawberries in chocolate, serve them in a flat box. But build large strawberries, melons, pineapple, mango chunks, or blueberries on the skewers, through the middle of the fruit.
Use large fruit. Organic fruit would be ideal. But organic blueberries generally are too small, and on a fruit arrangement you need plump blueberries for an artful arrangement with eye candy appeal.
Don’t sprinkle sugar on the arrangement. Give your loved one the gift of fresh raw fruit without added sweeteners of any type. You can cut the pineapple or melon chunks in heart shapes or stars, for example. Don’t use frozen fruit in an edible arrangement because as soon as the fruit thaws out, it will get soft and fall apart.
Use fresh, ripe raw large whole fruit pieces for the variety of berries and similar-size chunks or cut-outs of pineapple and melons. you can also vary the fruit with papaya or mango next to yellow and orange-flesh melons, white flesh melons and cantaloupe, for example.
Dipped strawberries in 85% dark chocolate interlaced with fresh pineapple chunks make a great mother’s day edible fruit gift that you can make yourself if you’re on a tight food budget. Your mom will appreciate an edible fruit ‘tree’ that you make with your own imagination and hands more than whether you make a phone call and order a ready-made one. But that’s up to you.
You also can make a gift tree of edible fruit for mom as a dessert or brunch. If you deliver a tree of edible fruit to your mom, you can pair the fruit tree of fresh raw fruit without fat, sugar, or candy with savory foods such as a quality cheese, a home-baked whole grain no-yeast bread, or a bottle of champagne or bubbly cider to go with the fresh raw fruit tree arrangement. Include a soothing music CD with the fruit arrangement for a touch of serenity with serendipity.
You might shop at organic fruit markets in Sacramento for large, organic berries and make your own gift fruit tree arrangement or fruit salad with all raw, organic fresh fruit. It’s just a matter of placing different colors of berries next to contrasting colors of fruit chunks on skewers to form a pyramid shape that resembles a pine tree or pine cone in shape. Make sure the base is non-toxic for edible foods and firm enough to hold the skewers. Some bases are available in craft shops or flower shops.
Other bases are sold in kitchen shops. Use wooden skewers made for using with foods. And build your gift tree like you’d design a Christmas tree or even a basketball shape gift. When you place your design in a base, be sure to use a ceramic fancy pot, garden watering can, dish, casserole bowl, or mug that looks artful and has a contrasting or harmonizing color, for example, a fancy ceramic dish tall enough to support the fruit ‘tree’ arrangement.
For detailed instruction see the videos, YouTube – How To Make Edible Fruit Bouquets and Arrangements and also, YouTube – How To Build an Edible Fruit Palm Tree for Theme Parties. Also see the videos, How to Create Fruit Arrangements | Garden Guides and How to Make Fruit Arrangements | Garden Guides.
Or Make Your Own Dried Fruit Creations
Sacramento schools might fill up the salad bar near the cash registers with dried fruits. And families at home in the Sacramento area might dehydrate a batch of dehydrated berries for kids to snack on when they come home from school or play. The idea is to make healthier substitutions as a local trend in Sacramento instead of serving kids the same cookies and milk. If you use cookie jars, fill them with dried berries and chopped nuts.
Serve dried cherries and blueberries as a snack the next time children come to your door for a treat or snack. At the next holiday, birthday, even or any other seasonal party, show children and families how to substitute healthier ingredients for snacks normally served at parties or events.
Make your own sun-dried tomatoes and mix them with dehydrated berries and cherries for a unique snack instead of serving just candy treats. You can mix dried vegetables and fruits for unique-tasting treats, for example dehydrated cherries, blueberries, and sun-dried tomatoes in a snack. Flavors won’t get tired of mixing savory tomatoes with sweet dried berries in their natural form. Don’t add sugar to your dried fruit. Use the natural sugars that increase in taste when the fruit or vegetables are dried.
Below you’ll see a directory of sites that show you how to dry fruits and vegetables. You can also learn how to dry spices, herbs, or make cookies from raw foods at sites such as Raw Recipes. Check out the videos below on raw food cookies recipes.
Teach them all how to make dried fruit and vegetable snacks or trail mix, dried fruit and nuts. Or for those allergic to nuts, try dried fruit and vegetables mixed with other foods that can be dehydrated or mixed with home-made granola for a trail mix without nuts.
Or add sesame or sunflower seeds for those who can handle granola and seeds with dried fruit as a party snack or treat to take out the door. Here’s how to show others how drying fruit can be fun as an alternative to eating candy and soda at parties.
The quickest way to dry fruits and vegetables is to cut them in very thin slices and put them on parchment paper on a cookie tray in your oven. Then heat the oven to 145 degrees F. and blanch or dip the fruit first before you put it in the oven. You close the oven door partly, propping the oven door open with a wooden spoon so steam escapes.
Then you keep the fruit in the 145 F. degree oven for four to 12 hours. After four hours, test the fruit to make sure it’s pliable when cooled. Then put the fruit in an open pot or stainless steel bowl and stir the dried fruit once a day for 10 to 14 days. For instruction on this method see the article, “How to Oven Dry Fruit,” by Sarra Jackson.
But how do you dip fruit or blanch fruit before you even begin to dry the fruit in your oven? Or how do you dry fruit in the sun or make sun-dried tomatoes? That’s why the directory below on drying fruit and vegetables will be useful when you make healthier snacks to hand out to children and families for holiday treats instead of the usual habit of handing out candy.
Try a healthier snack of fruit. And if you want to make your own trail mix, add some chopped cashew nuts, roasted almonds, walnut pieces, roasted peanuts, or sunflower seeds to the dried fruit snack.
Beware of handing out nut treats to strange children who could have peanut allergies: If you’re handing out snacks for r events where strange children come to your home, don’t add nuts. Some children are allergic to peanuts or any tree nuts. Some can’t have grains.
Just hand out dried berries such as blueberries or dried nectarines and apricots or dried apple rings, dried bananas, various berries, or a mixture of naturally sweet dried fruit and cranberries or sun-dried tomatoes and carrots.
You can dehydrate (dry) berries and other fruits to hand out to children for holiday treats or snacks instead of just buying candy. It takes more time, but it’s healthier and tastes just as sweet as some candies. According to the Seasonal Chef site, there are only seven steps to drying fruit such as berries, peaches, apples, and plums. See below. Also helpful is The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest, by Carol W. Costenbader. The Seasonal Chef site uses the following instructions on dehydrating fruit found in the book.
Here are the seven steps to drying and storing fruit.
1. Select the Fruit
Use only blemish-free fruits that are fully ripe but not overly ripe.
2. Prepare the Fruit
Wash, pit and slice the fruit. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will dry. But keep all pieces uniform in size so they’ll dry at the same time.
To preserve the color of the fruit, blanch the fruit in boiling water or dip the fruit slices before drying them. Here’s how to blanch fruits such as apples or apricots:
Blanching (apricots, apples)
Put slices in a steamer (or a colander suspended in a pot of boiling water) for five minutes then place fruit in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry on towels.
Ascorbic acid dip (all fruits)
2 tbsp ascorbic acid or 5 1-gram crushed vitamin C tabs and 1 quart water
Pectin dip (peaches, berries, cherries)
Mix 1 box of powdered pectin with 1 cup water. Boil together for 1 minute, then add ½ cup sugar and enough cold water to make 2 cups.
Honey dip (bananas, peaches, pineapples)
Mix 3 cups waters and 1 cup sugar. Heat and then add 1 cup honey. Stir well.
Juice dip (peaches, apples, bananas)
Combine 1 quart pineapple juice, 1 quart lukewarm water and ¼ cup bottled lemon juice.
a) Spread on screen for two to four days, turning slices over half way through the drying process.
b) Bring inside at night to keep dew from collecting on the fruit.
c) This method works best in climates with 100 degree heat and low humidity. Otherwise use caution, or try the oven.
a) Place fruit directly on racks or first spread 100 percent cotton sheet or cheesecloth over oven racks. b) Preheat oven to 145 degrees, propping door open with wooden spoon to allow steam to escape.
c) Allow 4 to 12 hours to dry the fruit.
d) Food should be dry but pliable when cool. Test a few pieces to see if the batch is ready
5. Post Drying
Put food in a big dry open pot in a warm, dry, airy location. Stir once or twice a day for 10 days to two weeks.
If you want to store the dried fruit for any great length of time, it is best to pasteurize the slices to destroy any insect eggs. To do this, when drying is complete, freeze the fruit for several days at zero degrees in a deep freeze (the freezer compartment of a refrigerator won’t do), or heat in a 175 degree oven for 10-15 minutes
Store in airtight ziplock bags or glass containers kept inside paper bag to protect from light. Store in cool dry place. Since a refrigerator is cool and moist, keep the dried fruit there only in the heat of summer, but make sure the package is air tight.
What else can you use for a fruit dip to preserve fruit color naturally?
Should you use lemon juice rather than ascorbic acid? You can use lemon juice instead of ascorbic acid to keep apples from turning brown. But then you’d have to immediately refrigerate the fruit so it won’t get spoiled after two hours by bacteria. Or you could use pure ascorbic acid powder. One brand of pure ascorbic acid powder is Klaire Labs ™ Vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid Ultra Fine Powder. Only 1/4 teaspoon of the powder is equal to 1,000 mg of vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid USP.
That’s the only ingredient. But be aware that plain lemon juice has the bioflavinoids in it besides ascorbic acid, which is only one part of the whole food vitamin C. So choose whatever you like. The recipe says use ascorbic acid or vitamin C tablets. If you use lemon juice instead of ascorbic acid, keep your sliced applies that you dip in the lemon juice in the refrigerator so they won’t spoil, get moldy, or ferment so quickly.
Here’s a directory of sites that give instruction on how to dry fruits and vegetables. For holidays, you might hand out to children dried berries, apple slices, or other dried fruit instead of candy. That way you can help to instruct families, children, and even teachers in serving healthier treats for holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, or the various winter and spring holidays coming up in the next 12 months.
Helpful links with recipes about drying fruit and vegetables
How to Dry Fruit
How to Dry Fruit | eHow.com
How to Dry Fruit With a Dehydrator | eHow.com
How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables
Apartment Therapy The Kitchn | How to Dry Fruit in the Oven
Fruit From Washington – How to Make Dried Fruit Snacks
Learn how to dry fruits and vegetables
How To Dry Fruits And Vegetables
Videos for raw food cookies recipes
Healthy Raw Recipes – Raw Cookies
4 min 32 sec
YouTube – Zion’s Raw Recipes: Raw Cookies
Making Your Own Sun Dried Tomatoes Sites
How to Make Your Own Sun-Dried Tomatoes From Your Garden – easy
Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe Basics
How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes | RealEpicurean.com
Make sun-dried tomatoes in the microwave – DIY Life
How to make sun dried tomatoes
Making Your Own Sun-Dried Tomatoes Videos
How to make sun-dried tomatoes | Vegetables | Food Video