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Fall Vegetable and Fruit ArrangementJonathan Fong
Not all floral arrangements need to have flowers. This arrangement showcases the bounty of fall in all its glory, with cabbages, artichokes, pomegranates and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's a stylish way to dress up an autumn mantel or a Thanksgiving buffet table. Best of all, most of the contents of the arrangement can be eaten afterwards. And that's something to be thankful for.
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Start with a water-tight containerJonathan Fong
Start with a solid, water-tight container like an ice bucket. This arrangement is top-heavy, so the heavier the container, the better. Consider other non-traditional floral vessels like salad bowls and dutch ovens.
Cut floral foam to fit containerJonathan Fong
Cut pieces of floral foam to fit into the container. Select "wet" floral foam, such as floral foam formulated for fresh arrangements. You can purchase floral foam in the floral section of crafts stores. It comes in standard-sized bricks, which can be easily cut with a knife.
Soak the floral foam in waterJonathan Fong
Remove the floral foam from the container and soak the pieces in a bucket of water for about a minute. Then return the foam to the container. Although most of the elements of the arrangement will not actually need a water source, the weight of the wet foam will help stabilize the top-heavy arrangement.
Remove wilted leaves from cabbageJonathan Fong
To select the fruits and vegetables for this arrangement, a trip to your local farmers market will definitely inspire you. A great foundation for the arrangement is ornamental cabbage, as the heads look like giant flowers. Remove the outer leaves that are yellowing or wilted, and trim the stem.
Insert the cabbages into the floral foamJonathan Fong
Insert the stems of the cabbages into the floral foam. The stems should be hidden completely in the foam. These cabbages are the only element in the arrangement with stems, and therefore the only things in need of the water in the floral foam.
Insert skewers into artichokesJonathan Fong
Artichokes are also ideal for this arrangement because of the bud's flower-like appearance. Insert skewers into the stems of the artichokes.
Insert the skewers into the foamJonathan Fong
Insert the skewers with the artichokes into the floral foam. You may need to trim the skewers if they are too long. The photo illustrates how the arrangement looks so far from the back.
Bundle squash blossoms with a skewerJonathan Fong
Squash blossoms are a farmers' market favorite, and their golden blooms look like African tulips. Bundle three squash blossoms and a skewer together with a rubber band, and they're ready to go into the arrangement.
Insert the squash blossomsJonathan Fong
When inserting the squash blossoms and subsequent elements in this arrangement, aim for a rounded look in which the sides are shorter and the middle is taller. As you can see in the photo here, the squash blossoms, which are in the middle, are higher than the artichokes and cabbages on the side.
Put skewers in pomegranatesJonathan Fong
Pomegranates, which are a fall staple, add a pop of color to the arrangement. As with the artichokes, insert skewers into the fruit to create a long stem, which you can use to place in the floral foam.
Bundle beans with rubber bandsJonathan Fong
Green beans aren't just green anymore at farmers markets. These purple and yellow beans provide additional color and texture in the arrangement. Bundle the beans with a skewer in the middle, securing them with a rubber band, and place them throughout the centerpiece.
Insert skewers in eggplantJonathan Fong
A farmers market truly is inspiring, and everywhere you look there are fruits and vegetables ideal for this arrangement. The deep purple of these eggplants contrasts so beautifully to the green cabbages. Again, insert skewers into their base to create stems for you to place in the centerpiece.
Bundle herbs with rubber bandsJonathan Fong
As you complete the arrangement, you will inevitably notice a few empty spots here and there. The perfect filler for these spaces is fresh herbs, which also make your centerpiece smell glorious. Bundle herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme with rubber bands.
Fill in any gaps with herbsJonathan Fong
Then position the herb bundles wherever there is an opening in the arrangement. If the arrangement is already densely packed, you will be able to fit in the herbs without anchoring them to skewers. Keep the arrangement in a cool place, and enjoy the fruits – and vegetables – of your labor.
Supermarkets carry various thicknesses of skewers. Select the thickest ones available so they do not snap from the weight of the vegetables and fruit.
Although ornamental cabbage is technically edible, it is bred as decoration rather than food, so the leaves are not as tender as the grocery store variety.