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Guest Post: Bento Box Apples!

Isabella has offered to guest post for me today! Everyone welcome Isabella!

Today she is going to show us some sassy bento tricks and tips for apples. Since Gaia will be going to school soon I’ll be making a packed lunch on a regular basis. I’m really excited to learn new ways to play with food! 

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I know when I was a small child I was never a huge fruit lover, and my grandmother struggled with many different ways to get me to be excited about and eat fruit. It wasn’t until my she met a now very dear family friend, who taught her some fun and interesting cutting techniques, that I started to eat and love fruit. If things are still like they were 20 years ago, I bet modern mothers may be having a hard time getting their little ones to eat healthy as well. Here are some simple and fun ways, that I learned from my grandmother, to cut your apples in order to get your kids more interested! Plus, it’s a really fun way to dress up your lunches and make that boring day at work a little more fun and cheerful.

The equipment and supplies you need:

All you need to cut your apples are shown here. A cutting board, a sharp small knife (here I have a serrated one, but a smooth bladed one is better really), a toothpick, and a bowl filled with acidulated water (cold water with some lemon juice in it) to dunk the apple slices in to stop them from turning brown.

Basic technique: Apple bunnies

Apple bunnies are the most commonly seen decorative apple cut. It’s also one of the most simple, so while I’ve already written a tutorial on how to make them on my blog, and there are several other tutorials out there, but I thought I’d go over it again to establish some basics of decorative apple cutting. First, cut out a wedge from the apple, and cut out the core. Score the skin with a V shape with your knife, as shown.

Carefully lift out the center V point (the part you’re going to cut away) with your knife. This helps to make a clean point there.

Cut under the outer points (the ears) fairly close to the skin. Cut them all the way down to the center V point.

Peel away the center skin, taking care not to cut into the ears.

Voilà, your apple bunny! You can cut eyes in, stick in cloves there, or just leave the ‘face’ bare, for a modern minimalist bunny.

After you’ve finished cutting, dunk the apple wedge into the bowl of acidulated water. You might want to dip the wedge while you’re working on it, if you see it turning brownish. This will also make the bunny ears stick up and curl up a bit.

So to review, here are the basics of decorative apple cutting: Cut out a wedge and cut away the core. Score the surface with a sharp knife. Cut away the parts you don’t want, working from the corners first. Dunk in acidulated water to stop it from turning brown.

Intermediate: Checker pattern apple

A two-color checker pattern is a decorative cut that’s appropriate for any lunch. You can make the pattern as small or as big as you want. This cut is not hard, but is a bit fiddly. Start by cutting fat wedge of apple. Score the surface with your knife in a checkerboard pattern. Keep the checkerboard as evenly spaced as you can.

Then all you do is to cut out and peel/pry off alternate squares of skin, using your knife or (if the checkerboard is very fine) the tip of a toothpick.

Keep going, taking care not to cut into the ‘on’ square skins. You can tidy up any rough edges later.

Here’s a finished wedge. Looks rather modern doesn’t it?

Here are two thin wedges with one big checkerboard cut into each (so you have a cross pattern). The wedges are skewered together with a toothpick. This is even easier to do than an apple bunny.

You could use this basic score-and-cut-away technique to make all kinds of decorative surface patterns.

Advanced: Apple leaf

This is a more advanced cut, that may take some practice, but the results are rather spectacular. If you have the time and patience these are very nice as party-buffet type decorations. First, cut out a wedge of apple. Carefully score the wedge about 3mm / about 1/10th of an inch from the edge.

Cut along the score, parallel to the sides of the apple, down into the wedge in a V. Your aim is to cut out a smaller wedge, like so.

Cut two more smaller wedges into the apple, so that you end up with 4 nested wedges, as shown here. (Pro chefs can cut out even more and thinner wedges, but 3 is enough for us amateurs.)

Carefully slice back the wedges, staggering them. You’ll end up with this, which looks a bit like a 3-D leaf with prominent veins. I keep mine together with a toothpick, then dunk in acidulated water.

Each of these techniques can be used on other thin skinned yet firm fruit, but the results are most striking when there’s a strong contrast between the color of the skin and the flesh inside. I hope you try them out – remember, practice makes perfect! For what it’s worth, the apple bunny took me about 3 minutes, the checkerboard apple 5, and the apple leaf about 8 minutes. I hope these techniques help bring a little cheer to your lunch, as well as those of your kids!

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Comments

  1. looks great! kids would love it!

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