Centerpieces for Pantries
AmpleHarvest.org contacted me to help out with a very special project they run throughout the holiday season. It’s called Centerpieces for Food Pantries. The concept is fun and simple: forgo a floral holiday centerpiece and make an edible one that can be donated to a food pantry after your festivities. This is a wonderful way to give back to your community as well as spread a little holiday cheer to those who could use a little help.
Mark and I are regular participants in Plant a Row for the Hungry. This time of year our garden is producing fall and winter crops, but production has definitely slowed. Most of what we have growing are root vegetables and leafy greens. I was determined that I could make an attractive arrangement with what I have in the garden as well as other seasonal fruits and veggies.
How to Make an Edible Centerpiece
There’s no right or wrong way to make an edible centerpiece. Use what you have or what’s in season. I chose fruits and veggies that are hearty and can hold up well out of the fridge or water. Fall and winter vegetables are perfect for an edible centerpiece because they are tough and will not wilt easily.
I started with a base of collard greens in a low shallow bowl. I remove a couple of inches of the stems.
Next, I added my two largest vegetables. In this case it’s a butternut and acorn squash.
Now, it’s time for the medium sized produce. Here I added a pomegranate and bell peppers. I made sure not to put two like colors (like the red pepper and pomegranate) close together. I balanced the reds opposite of each other.
Next came my bosc pears. They added more neutral tones to compliment the reds and oranges.
I wanted a bit more color, so I decided to add in the turnips. This brought an additional punch of color to the bowl.
The orange pepper needed a partner on the opposite end to balance it out, so a couple of carrots did the trick.
Finally, fill in all the spaces with herbs or smaller leafy greens. This softens the overall look of the centerpiece.
Decorate Your Holiday Table
Add your fun, edible centerpiece to your holiday table. Your guests will love the look of your edible arrangement.
You can easily change the look of this type of arrangement by adding more fruit versus vegetables. For a Christmas themed table, try adding more citrus, un-shelled nuts and cranberries.
For a more casual look, try laying the produce out as a runner. Start with a base of hearty greens. Next add in the fruits and veggies keeping the colors and sizes balanced. Tuck in herbs to soften the look.
You can add a few pieces of fruit and herbs to the individual place settings to bring the whole look together.
After the festivities donate the edible arrangement. You can find a food pantry near you that accepts fresh produce at AmpleHarvest.org. If you are on Instagram, tag your edible arrangements with #ampleharvest and tag us @debbie_the_prudent_garden and @ampleharvest so we can see your arrangements! Happy Holidays!