You know me, I love any excuse to get down and crafty with my food. Edible bouquets of veggies disguised as colorful blossoms can stand in for flowers on your summer table, and they’re a great idea for barbecues and out door entertaining. You can get as creative or as ‘cookie cutter’ (literally) as you want with this project. I’ll take you through it step by step, but feel free to think outside the box…use any container you want, from dollar store clay flowerpots to mason jars. The veggies and ‘greens’ are interchangeable. You can use these as a host or hostess gift, and even make individual appetizer crudite cups.
You’ll probably recognize the idea of using mini cookie cutters from my LEMON PANNA COTTA post. It worked too well with the fruit not to try it again, this time with vegetables. You can do this bouquet without the cutters, too, there are lots of ways to make veggie flowers with nothing but a paring knife, but the cutters make it easier. The only thing you’ll need to buy are longer toothpicks or skewers to serve as the stems for your bouquet.
First choose your veggies. You’ll need firm veggies that can be cut into nice sharp shapes, and have good color. I used multicolored carrots, radishes, bell peppers, beets, cherry tomatoes and jicama for the flowers, and green beans, asparagus, pea pods and micro greens for the leafy parts. Then it’s just a matter of peeling, slicing, cutting and arranging!
These watermelon radishes were just perfect for this project. Chioggia beets, the ones with the pink and white spirals inside, would be fabulous, too. You can slice them and then cut little wedges out to make a flower, or use small sized flower cutters. Veggies that won’t work? Anything that turns brown (eggplant), is seedy, or dull colored inside (cucumber, summer squash) won’t work well. Remember, you want to choose veggies that will be colorful after they are cut.
Be sure to keep your cut flowers moist by placing them between damp paper towels while you work. Once you complete your arrangement, give it a spritz of water now and then to keep it fresh. I don’t recommend making these too far in advance of using them, because they will tend to dry out. The same day is a must.
Vases have a tapered shape so that the flowers fan out attractively. Find a vessel for your edible bouquet that is somewhat tapered at the bottom and flares at the top so that your arrangement will have a pleasing shape.
- multicolored carrots
- red, golden, or chioggia beets
- colorful bell peppers
- small cherry tomatoes (all colors)
- thin asparagus stalks
- pea pods
- green beans
- micro greens
- you will also need long toothpicks or thin wooden skewers (most large grocery stores carry them)
- Gather small round, flower, and butterfly cutters. Prepare some damp paper towels so you can keep your veggies moist as you work.
- Wash and peel the veggies that require peeling. As you work, put the cut veggies in the damp paper towels. When using small shape cutters, use firm pressure to get a nice clean cut. Gently nudge the shape out of the cutter so you don't break any of the small parts off.
- For carrots, slice the widest end into thin rounds and either cut with a small flower cutter, or cut divots out to make a flower shape. You can use the thinnest end to cut small slices that can be used for the center of other flowers.
- For the jicama, slice it and cut out flowers and or butterflies. Experiment with the perfect thickness for your cutters. Beets can be cut the same way, slice the widest part of the beet for the most surface area. Be sure to keep red beets away from the other veggies to avoid staining them.
- Slice the sides from bell peppers and remove any white part before cutting.
- Once your vegetables are cut you can start to create your flowers. Slide the end of a toothpick into the flower to make the stem. You can slide one or two pea pods on to serve as leaves on a few of the stems.
- Insert the toothpick into the center of some of the larger flowers and then you can add a small cherry tomato, or a smaller round of another vegetable to serve as the center of the flower. (Refer to the photos for help)
- Choose a vase for your bouquet and loosely fill the bottom half with sprouts or micro greens, letting some peek out of the top. Arrange your stems and add the asparagus, pea pods, or small lettuce leaves for greenery. Cut the toothpicks to different lengths to vary the height of each flower. A little water in the vase will help keep the greens fresh.
- Lightly spritz the whole bouquet with water.