What you'll need for vegetable bouquets

March 19, 1997


butternut squash




green onions


garnishing tools - channel knife or a zester/scorer - or a sharp knife

vegetable peeler

vegetable slicer


wooden skewers


bowl of ice water

Directions for vegetable bouquets

1. Make a base from a butternut squash, which carves cleanly, doesn't discolor and won't topple over easily. Other stable vegetables, such as acorn squash or a head of cauliflower that doesn't turn brown quickly also can be used.

Slice across the bottom so the vase will stand, then cut off the stem.

Use a garnishing tool that makes V cuts to create a zigzag edge along the top. A knife also can be used.

To decorate the butternut vase, use a channel knife or a zester/scorer to carve a pattern into the surface.

2. Push wooden skewers into the top of the vase, using different lengths to stagger the heights of the flowers. Place the short skewers in front and the long ones in back.

3. Make flowers from radishes, carrots, turnips and green onions.

Do a few extra flowers in case they break or don't turn out as well as you planned, Toth says.

When flowers are completed, place them in a bowl of ice water so they will open more fully. Create the flowers as follows:

Carrot spider mums:

Carrots need to be soft and pliable when working, so allow them to sit out before beginning to work. Peel carrots and cut off the ends. Use a vegetable slicer to make very thin slices.

Two carrot slices are needed for each mum. In each slice, lengthwise cut four slits an equal distance apart, leaving one inch uncut at each end.

Diagonally cut the two outer bands of each carrot slice in half, making the ends pointed. Bend one strip into a loop, overlapping its uncut ends. Holding the loop with your thumb and index finger, bend the other slice over it. Secure with a toothpick.

Green onion brushes:

Cut the root ends off, leaving one inch at the bottom as a base. Make a series of slits, cutting through to the other side.

Turnip roses:

Cut off the ends of turnips and slice very thinly with a vegetable slicer. Wrap one slice into a tube to create a bud in the center, then wrap another slice around it. Take a third turnip slice and wrap it around the other two, then secure with a toothpick.

Radish tulips:

Elongated radishes work best. Cut off the root end with a sharp knife. Make a V-shaped cut, then make another cut across it to create an `X.' Cut across one more time to create a star, then cut inverted V-shapes on the petals. Bend the petals a bit with the tip of a knife to help them open.

4. Use some of the hollow green onion stems to cover the wooden skewers in your squash base, creating stems.

5. Attach the flowers to the tops of the skewers.

Tips: The squash vase can be prepared three to four days in advance.

After the flowers are attached, the vase can be kept at room temperature for four to six hours before it starts to wilt. Misting with cool water will help keep it fresh.

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