We give you great tips on how to create those wonderful creative garnishes that chefs always like to present with their dishes!
Specific preparations and treatments
1. Tomatoes should be soaked in a mixture of lime juice and water to prevent browning.
2. Shallots & onions should be soaked in water before being peeled & carved to reduce irritation of the eyes.
3. Taro should be washed thoroughly before being peeled. If washed after peeling, a slime is released which causes itching.
4. Carrots should not be soaked in water before carving as this will make the flesh tougher and more difficult to carve.
5. Beets should be washed in water to which a little salt has been added. This will reduce loss of color. Also, if left standing, beets will blacken, so they should be kept moist by spraying them with water regularly.
6. Potatoes should be washed with water after peeling to remove the sap and then washed again after carving. This will help prevent browning.
7. Apples should be soaked in mixture of lime juice and water before being peeled to prevent browning.
8. Cantaloupes should be washed before carving. While carving, avoid letting water come into contact with the fruit because it will lose its taste and spoil more quickly.
9. Yam bean tubers should be soaked too long after carving, will yellow.
Storing carved fruits and vegetables
1. After carving, fruits and vegetables should be placed in ice cold water so the petals of flower designs are firm and spread beautifully.
2. Carved fruits and vegetables should not be left in water as this will cause petals to become discolored and to spoil.
3. Each type of carved fruit should be kept separately. This will prevent loss of all your work in the event that one type spoils.
4. Store carved fruits and vegetables by putting them in containers and placing in a refrigerator, or if no refrigerator is available, by covering them with a damp piece of thin white cloth and putting them in a place protected from drafts so they do not dry and wilt.
5. After carving, pumpkin should be dipped in water and removed right away. If left in water, flower petal designs will become bruised.
Watermelon Basket Carving
Perfect for a summer picnic, this Watermelon Fruit Basket is carved from a watermelon into the shape of a dolphin. Kids will love to help draw the pattern on the watermelon rind and make the melon balls with the help of a melon scoop. Refrigerate until serving time, when you can sit back and enjoy the compliments.
• One small watermelon
• Sharp-pointed knife
• Carving knife
• Melon scoop
1. Choose an elongated watermelon.
2. Lightly draw a dolphin on the rind of the watermelon as in the picture with a sharp point.
3. Cut along the lines carefully with the knife and then gently cut away the rind.
4. With a melon scoop, make the flesh into watermelon balls and set aside in a dish. Remove any remaining flesh so the interior is clean and white.
5. Cut triangles through the rind to represent the eyes, and in the edges, cut notches for the eyelashes.
6. Cut a crescent for the mouth, and then notch the upper border of the rind all around except at the tail.
7. Arrange the watermelon and cantaloupe balls attractively in the dolphin-shaped bowl.
Two red or green apples
Sharp pointed knife, carving knife
1. Wash the apples.
2. Cut a wedged-shape slice as in the picture.
3. Trim away any of the core, leaving the flesh and skin.
4. With the carving knife, cut the slice to the shape of a leaf.
5. With the tip of the knife, make curving grooves in the skin to represent the veins of the leaf. Work from the base of the leaf to the tip.
6. Cut notches along the edges of the leaf.
Simple White Lotus Cucumber Garnish
One long cucumber and 1 carrot
Sharp pointed knife and carving knife
1. Wash the cucumbers. Cut into 3 sections.
2. Divide the circumference of each into 8 equal parts and then make cuts about 3mm deep between each part down the length of the section.
3. Slice beneath each part down the length almost to the base to separate it from the flesh, thus forming the eight outer petals.
4. Trim the flesh to remove ridges and then divide into 8 parts as before to make the inner ring of petals. These should be centred between those of the outer ring.
5. Remove the core of the cucumber, trim each petal so it tapers to a point, and then insert the centre of the flower.
6. For the centre, use 1/4" thick disk cut from a small carrot. Cut small grooves in a crisscross pattern on one face, and place up in the lotus flower.