We love fruits and vegetables for their myriad health benefits, nutrient density, taste … but what about their beauty and style? In New England, not only do we enjoy cranberries, pumpkins, squash, apples and pears in savory and sweet dishes, we also use them to decorate our fireplaces, dining room tables, place-settings and front doors. With money tight this holiday season, use your local supermarket to inspire your inner holiday gourmet as well as your holiday fashionista.
Delight your family and holiday guests with:
Touch of Gourmet: Use this tart and sweet fruit for cranberry relish, sauce and baby green salads. Cranberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which may help to strengthen the immune system. To add a festive touch to your holiday champagne, add a splash of cranberry juice and a few cranberries to each flute.
Touch of Style: Cranberry Centerpiece: Place three 12oz bags of fresh cranberries in a large shallow clear glass bowl with enough water to fill ¾ of the bowl. Add four floating candles. Use as a centerpiece on the coffee or dining room table.*
Touch of Gourmet: Enjoy in soups, pies, breads and muffins. Or snack on pumpkin seeds that have been lightly roasted. Pumpkin provides a good source of vitamin C and an excellent source of vitamin A.
Touch of Style: Pumpkin Center Piece: Create leaf silhouettes by tracing a leaf-shaped cookie cutter onto the shell of a hollowed-out pumpkin. Use a pumpkin saw to cut out the shapes. Tie a ribbon around the top and scatter autumn leaves around the base. Place a cinnamon scented candle inside.
Touch of Gourmet: Squash of all varieties (acorn, butternut, spaghetti, hubbard) are staples on harvest menus. Enjoy this hearty veggie in soups, baked and stuffed, mashed with butter and maple syrup or as a topping on pizza (try it … you’ll be pleasantly surprised). Most varieties are a good source of fiber, potassium and magnesium and excellent sources of vitamins A and C.
Touch of Style: Squash Vase: Cut the top off of a flat-bottomed acorn or carnival squash; discard top. Clean out the inside. Add water and fill with yellow and red chrysanthemums, cattails, and oak or maple leaves.
Touch of Gourmet: Eat your favorite whole or use in pork roasts, crisps and pie, or in an apple-cheddar Panini (my favorite!). One large apple contains about 120 calories and is an excellent source of fiber.
Touch of Style: Apple Arrangement: Gather brilliantly colored fall foliage. Pile different varieties of apples into a clear glass bowl and arrange fall leaves around the apples. Add cinnamon sticks for a wonderful fall aroma.
Touch of Gourmet: Bake with cinnamon and oats, slice onto salads or enjoy pureed in a bellini (champagne and pear puree). One medium pear provides 5 grams of fiber and contains 10% of your
daily needs for Vitamin C.
Touch of Style: Pear Circlet Centerpiece: Place a small wreath atop a clear glass plate. Place 2 or 3 white pillar candles of differing sizes in the center of the wreath. Scatter pinecones, pears and cranberries in the center of and outside the wreath.*
*Never leave burning candles unattended.