Now that winter is behind us and the temperature is starting to rise, my winter attire of hoodies and jeans is no longer acceptable. Unfortunately, I took a little bit too much “comfort” in my favorite Winter comfort foods and now my waistline is paying the price. But I’ve decided change that by altering my diet and getting more exercise. Instead of reaching for a snack loaded with calories and other useless ingredients, I’m choosing fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
I wanted to start with a bang and encourage my kids and the rest of the family to reach for better options, so I thought a Festive Fruit Basket would be a fun way to do that. I headed to Pick ‘n Save and browsed the massive product section. I found the melons and was excited that watermelons are out already, so I grabbed one to use as the basket. Cantalope is another good choice though for a smaller fruit bowl or basket. Then I found some grapes on sale, grabbed a few kiwi and headed to the back wall to look at the berries. The selection was great so I chose raspberries, blueberries and blackberries!
While I was shopping, I noticed that Pick ‘n Save has a “Think Spring Sale” going on for some of my favorite seasonal items. There are special tags throughout the store, so make sure to be on the lookout next time you shop there.
The wonderful thing about making a fruit salad is that you can pick and choose whichever fruits you want to include. I wanted a nice variety but also wanted fruit for the rest of the week so I really loaded up.
Now cutting the watermelon to use as your basket can be really tricky, so take your time. I suggest drawing it out beforehand too, which I did not do – silly me! Roll your watermelon around until you find the nice flat spot for the bottom. Also look to make sure it looks good on top too – nice and oval rather than lumpy looking. Presentation is key for this project!
Using a large sharp knife, start your slices. You’ll want the handle to be in the middle obviously, so give yourself about 2 inches on each side so the handle is not only wide enough for your zigzag pattern, but strong enough to hold as well. Make your first cut about 2 inches from the center and go down about halfway through the melon. Now from the front of the melon, do the same thing basically and slice through to your first cut. You may need to work the knife back and forth through each slice a bit, but then you should be able o just break the chunk off and you’ll have what appears sort of like a pie slice out of you watermelon. Repeat on the next side of the watermelon.
Set the slices aside or on a platter for everyone to eat while you’re creating your masterpiece. Use a melon baller to get the watermelon out so that you can fill your basket with fruit. Place the watermelon balls into a bowl as you get them out.Continue doing this until most of the melon is out. Then use a spoon to scrape the sides for a nice “clean” look. I’d have loved to share pictures of the process, but this was a messy project and I just couldn’t keep stopping to wash my sticky hands.
Now comes the tricky part and this is where drawing your design beforehand will really come in handy. Make slices out of the “bowl” in a zigzag pattern, going from one corner of the handle to the next. Repeat on the other side of the basket. Do the same on each side of the handle, being very careful because it will be flimsy.
If you’re using a cantaloupe or honeydew, you will need to do the same with a melon baller. It not only makes the whole arrangement look pretty, but it helps the rest of the fruit to sit nicely as well. You will also need to peel and slice the kiwi.
Rinse and gather all of your fruit, then start arranging in the bottom “bowl” of the watermelon. I filled the bottom layer of my bowl with the heavier fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe and grapes first. Then I started strategically placing pieces of fruit, starting with the watermelon, cantaloupe and grapes. I filled in areas with raspberries and blackberries, then did the blueberries and kiwi last.
I had large chunks of watermelon left over, so I took my flower cookie cutter and cut out decorative flowers out of the smaller 3 sizes. I also only used half the cantaloupe, so I cut out a few slices and did the same with the cantaloupe. I layered the fruit flowers with a decorative toothpick, first poking through the smallest size watermelon cut out, middle size cantaloupe then largest watermelon. I stuck in right at the edge where the handle meets the bowl and secured it with another toothpick from behind.
I loved the look the flower game, so I made some more single flowers, using a blueberry in the middle. Just pick whichever size you want, stick the toothpick first through the blueberry then your melon flower. Stick the toothpick right through the middle of the “basket” handle. Do another on the “bowl” of the basket and if you really want to get festive, anywhere else you’d like!
My family really enjoyed the fruit basket. My in laws were visiting and my MIL and SIL asked if I’ll be making one for our next gathering. There were 8 of us for dinner and well over half of the fruit was eaten. Lil Man picked all of the “flowers” off first and ate those – what a stinker!
I’ll definitely be making more of these baskets for our summer gatherings. It’s such a fun and creative way to bring healthier options to the party!
You can find more fun and delicious recipes on the Pick ‘n Save Pinterest page. Which is your favorite?