Thursday, February 27, 2014

Citrus Centerpieces: Color, Taste, and Beauty

It’s citrus season! Seeing the grapefruit tree in my backyard fill with bright pink globes is a nice reminder that spring is on its way (and that this cold winter won’t last forever!). If you have citrus trees in your yard—or if a neighbor, family member, or coworker does—then you’re familiar with the seasonal citrus overload that can fill up a kitchen pretty quickly.

Cooking is a great way to use all this fruit, and we can enjoy citrus in marmalades, salads, and desserts, and as delicious garnishes to main courses. But if you’ve already had broiled grapefruit every day this week (like I have), you might be wondering what else you can do with this beautiful bounty? The bright colors of citrus fruits have a particular visual appeal that compliments their tangy flavors, so a citrus centerpiece could make a great seasonal addition to your table!

Perk Up a Vase with Lemon Slices

A bowl of pinks, oranges, yellows, and greens can brighten a kitchen countertop, but what about using your favorite citrus fruit to accent a vase of flowers? Achieving an elegant fruity presentation is easier than you might think. Impress your guests—and yourself—by slicing a lemon and tucking the slices along the sides of a clear vase. Yellow lemon rinds can make a lovely accent for all sorts of flowers, from daisies to dahlias. The fruit is, of course, perishable, so after dinner, be sure to put your arrangement in the refrigerator overnight so you can enjoy it at breakfast, too.

A Bowlful of Orange Delights

If you’d like to keep your oranges all in one piece (to eat later!), try this fun idea:  tuck a pad of floral foam and moss in the middle of a bowl of oranges. Insert real or artificial flowers into the moss, and voila! You have a mini citrus garden. This can be a fun centerpiece for children to add to—a little toy frog or fairy is a lovely touch. After a dinner with friends, treat your guests to a unique party favor! Invite them to pluck a flower and take an orange from the bowl at the end of the night. 

Lay It All on the Table

What if your tangerine tree overfloweth? If you don’t have enough bowls and vases in the house for all your fruit, just pile it on the table. As they say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it! This simple, rustic but elegant centerpiece by Annie Campbell of Après Fête makes the most of an overload of tangerines and a simple wooden table. Whether you’re helping the kids with homework or having the neighbors over for mimosas, a pile of tangerines or oranges makes for a healthy and welcoming snack.  

What’s your favorite, creative way to use citrus this time of year? Please tell us!

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