How to Make
a Vegetable Bouquet
(Edible Flower Basket)
A few years ago, I came across this wonderful idea to make a flower arrangement with nothing more than a few vegetables. Of course, like every other craft I have done, insanity struck and I just had to make it for an event.
Completed Vegetable Bouquet (Edible Flower Basket)
© Baby-Shower.com -
See also Penguin Eggs article
(shown at the front of the basket)
Everyone loved it and after a few moments of telling them it was okay to eat it, the guests couldn’t stop raving how a simple vegetable tray could be so delicious.
Let’s face it; if something looks beautiful, then we are more likely to enjoy eating it. All the best chefs know this and all the best hosts (hostesses) know this too. It is often more about how food is presented and than how it tastes.
Okay, maybe it isn’t quite that far but presentation can go along way and with this vegetable bouquet, you can merge two worlds together, great taste and great visual appeal.
This Edible Flower Basket is excellent for any baby shower but it does particularly well at spring themed showers. It is fairly easy to make, but it can take a fair amount of time, so be patient.
Also, please make sure you take care when you make these Edible Flower Baskets because you can all too easily cut yourself or poke a few holes in your skin with the wooden skewers.
INGREDIENTS - WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
Note: The number of items you need will differ depending on the size of your basket. The larger the basket, the more you will need to use and vice versa.
- 6 to 8 radishes
- 4 to 5 carrots
Note: when I made this basket for the photographs, my local grocery store had no long carrots so I had to go with baby carrots. I prefer to use a long carrot so I can cut several flowers from one carrot. However, the baby carrots do work but expect to use about 12 to 20 baby carrots.
- 6 to 10 cherry or grape tomatoes (don’t go too small or it doesn’t look right)
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 bunch of broccoli
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 bunch of asparagus (you will usually only use 10 to 15, sometimes less)
- 1 head of cabbage
- Wooden Skewers
- 1 basket (size differs depending on the number of guests you have. Also, if you want to use this as a centerpiece with a basket every few feet, simply multiply the ingredients by the number of baskets you are making.
- Plastic Wrap
How to Make your own Vegetable Bouquet (Edible Flower Basket):
- Line the basket with plastic wrap.
- Wash all of the vegetables and place them in a cool place while you are preparing everything.
- Take the head of cabbage and cut it in half.
- Place one half of the cabbage in the bottom of the basket. This works as the “foam” for your flower arrangements. Set aside until your vegetables are prepared. One thing I would like to mention is that if you are prepping the vegetables over night; don’t do this step until you are ready to assemble your bouquet.
- Creating Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Leaves:
Leaves add a nice touch to the basket and shouldn’t be forgotten. This is actually a very easy thing to do and is probably one of the easiest “flowers” in your entire basket. For this, I prefer to use the brightly colored red and yellow bell peppers but you can use green or even hot peppers if you prefer.
- Wash the peppers if you have not done so already.
- Cut the pepper in half.
- Cut it into half again so you have four quarters.
- Cut out the seeds and the core of the pepper so you have four flat peppers.
- Cut long triangles into the pepper. I find the best way to do this is to start on one side as the point and then slice at a diagonal. Reverse the diagonal with each slice so you can get more leaves.
- Repeat until you have cut the entire pepper and then place all the leaves into water.
- Repeat with any other peppers you are using and soak in water.
- Creating Onion Grass:
Decorative grasses are always nice in a bouquet and vegetable bouquets are no different.Like the pepper leaves, these are actually very easy to make and they really look like you put a lot of effort into your basket. You will need to use the 5 to 6 green onions.
- Wash the onions if you have not done so already.
- Cut off the ends of the green onions and peel away the top layer of onion. Some people prefer not to do this but I like to have that extra level of cleanliness.
- Wash the onion again to remove any of the slimy skin that is left.
- With a sharp knife, pierce the onion green about half way down. Slice up towards the end so it splits in half.
- Repeat the cut several times until you have three to five wisps of “grass”.
- You can soak in water to create curls or you can do this right before you assemble the basket so they aren’t curled.
If you don’t want them curled, Do Not put them in water.
- Creating Broccoli and Cauliflower trees:
Because this is very similar, you can do the same thing with both. For this stage, you will need to use both the cauliflower and the broccoli.
- Wash the broccoli and cauliflower if you have not done so already.
- Cut off the stock of the broccoli and cut the florets into different sized trees. You don’t want them all to be small but you also don’t want them all to be. Have a range of sizes so you have a range of foliage in your basket.
- Repeat with the cauliflower.
I like to wash the broccoli and cauliflower both before I cut it up and after since cutting it loosens the bunches a bit and you can give it a more thorough cleaning.
- Making a Radish Rose:
Radish roses are almost a staple of decorative food. I have made them for potato salad, to decorate a plate or as a nice topping for a garden salad. They are easy to make and they look beautiful on whatever you put them on.
- Wash the radishes if you have not done so already.
- Cut the ends and the top off the radish. You should be left with a squat cylinder of a radish with rounded sides and a flat top and bottom.
- Slice one side of the radish to form a petal. This should be a thin cut with mostly the skin of the radish and you should not cut it completely off. Leave a few mm (1/4") of the skin connected to the radish.
- Turn the radish and repeat, you can slice the other “petal” slightly but remember to avoid cutting the petal right off.
- Turn a third time and repeat and then finally do it a fourth. You will have your rose at this point but if you are interested in making it fancier, you can start cutting more petals into the inside of the radish. Be careful not to recut any of the outer petals when you do this.
- Repeat the process until you have all the radish roses finished.
- Place in water.
The radish rose looks better if you can let it soak in water for a few hours or overnight but it isn’t necessary.
- Creating a carrot tulip:
Again, if you are using a large carrot, you would just cut down the carrot and use the bottom of one carrot as the start of the other. So you cut in four petals and pop out the flower before moving down to repeat with four petals popping out each flower as you go along.
- Wash the carrots if you have not done so already and peel them if they need to be peeled. Baby carrots don’t need to be peeled, so if you are using baby carrots don’t worry about it.
- As you did with the radishes, cut in a petal but instead of cutting into just the outside layer, you want to thicken the petal at the bottom and angle the knife so it cuts into the center of the carrot.
- Turn and repeat the process with a second petal and then the third and fourth petal.
- With the tip of your knife, cut the center of the carrot and lift excess carrot out of it.
- If you have a flower above it, you simple lift the flower out of the center and then move down the carrot to start another flower.
- Repeat the process until you have all the carrot tulips finished.
- Place in water.
Unlike the radish rose, the carrot tulip doesn’t open up as much in water if left overnight, but soaking them overnight won’t hurt the vegetable either.
- Creating a tomato tulip:
These are optional. Many times, I just use the whole grape tomato instead of cutting them but the option is there to make them flowers as well. For this basket, I did both the tomato tulips and the whole grape tomatoes as tulip buds.
- Wash the tomatoes if you have not done so already.
- Like the radish, slice a small petal into the side of the tomato. Don’t make it too thick because you want it to be a petal.
- Turn the tomato and repeat a second time and then a third and fourth time. With these, I try not to cut the petal that I have already done. Also, you need a very sharp knife since the tomato will be squished simply from cutting it.
- Push the center square that you have made down so some of the seeds squish out. This also gives you a nice tulip shape.
- Rinse out the petal to remove as many seeds as you can.
- Repeat for all the tomatoes you are doing.
- Place in water but don’t leave these overnight or the tomato will spoil.
Nothing special is done with the asparagus so just wash them and cut off the ends. I usually leave these until I’m ready to arrange the basket.
- Putting it all together:
Once you have everything prepared, then it is simply a matter of arranging them to create a nice flower arrangement. There is no right or wrong way to arrange them so play around until you get what you like. Below are some tips for arranging them.
- Work in levels. I start with the tallest and then work down.
- Cut the skewers to different heights before you put them in.
- Insert the skewers into the cabbage to hold the “flower” in place.
- Put the skewers into the cabbage first and then attach the vegetable. If you do it the other way, you can push the skewer completely through the vegetable and this can lead to serious injuries with the skewers (trust me on this).
- Insert toothpicks into the asparagus so it is shorter in the basket.Usually the asparagus is the longest vegetable you have so I like to use a toothpick since theyare smaller and thinner and less likely to split the asparagus.
- Thread the skewer through the pepper leaves to stabilize the leaves.
- Slide the skewer into the center of the onion.
- Don’t use skewers for the lowest level. I find in the end, when I am just filling the spaces with broccoli, cauliflower and peppers, it is much easier to simply nestle them between the skewers. There are enough vegetables to keep them in place and you don’t have to try to manoeuvre around the skewers already in place.
- Turn the arrangement as you work. While you will have a side that you like the best, remember that this is usually on a table that people can move around. Make sure every side looks good for the food.
- Serve with a nice dip in a decorative bowl or even a smaller basket.
Serve your vegetables cold and try to have them ready as close to the party as possible. There is nothing worse than seeing your beautiful creation wilt even before the guests arrive. If you refrigerate it, the basket will last for several hours without any worries but don’t take it out until right before the meal, or if you are using it as an edible centerpiece, take it out when your first guests start arriving.
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