Gifts of fresh fruit in a basket make wonderful surprises for a hostess, overworked friend or sick neighbor. Here’s how you can create your own fruit baskets and have quite a bit of fun doing so.
Find a pretty wicker basket, small wooden crate or wire container with plenty of surface room for displaying your fruit. Even a never-used picnic basket makes a superb container. Before you go to the craft store to buy a container, check around your house to see if you have one in good condition that you aren’t using. (Most of us do!)
Pad the bottom of your basket with crumpled newspaper to make it appear fuller and boost the contents to a more eye pleasing appearance. Cover the newspaper with a few sheets of festive tissue paper. (Yellow, orange, red, or green look great against fruit.) You’re preparing the landscape for your fruit baskets so be imaginative.
Assemble your fruit in the basket, placing the largest items in first, such as a pineapple, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon. Next, layer in medium and any odd-sized fruit, such as green tipped bananas (save yellow bananas for the top layer since they may bruise more easily), papayas, coconuts, and mangoes. Don’t feel you have to use the entire piece of fruit. A papaya sliced in half and covered in plastic wrap is much prettier than the whole fruit.
To fill out the fruit baskets, add in oranges, red and green apples, and pomegranates. This firm fruit will help prop up the bigger fruit and cushion the more fragile pieces.
Complete the basket with delicate fruit such as pears, plums, peaches, yellow bananas and kiwi—make sure nothing is over-ripe. For extra color, add in a few small boxes of seedless raisins or cans of pineapple juice.
Wrap your finished fruit baskets in decorative cellophane. For a super professional touch, wrap your basket in shrink-wrap, which you can purchase at your local craft store, following the packaging instructions. Top off your fruit basket with a big, beautiful bow.