Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tips on selecting fruits and vegetables for carving

Tips on selecting fruits and vegetables for carving.

Here are some useful tips and suggestions on selection of Fruits and vegetables for carving, and also special tips about preparation of these fruits and vegetables before carving to get optimum results.

Each kind of fruit and vegetable has its own unique characteristics, so keep these pointers in mind when choosing fruits and vegetables to carve.

Selection of Vegetables and Fruits for Carving.
  • Onions and shallots should be fresh and without wrinkles. Choose either mediumsized or small bulbs that are all of uniform size.
  • Radishes should be fresh, firm, and round. Use medium-sized radishes, all of uniform size.
  • Carrots should be straight and of medium or large-size.
  • Chinese radishes should be straight and of medium-size with clear bright skins. The flesh of large Chinese radishes tends to be mealy.
  • Cucumbers should be green, straight, and of medium-size. The type called for in this book is the larger type (Tang Ran). If the smaller type (Tang Kwa) is used, those with green skins have firmer flesh and are better for carving than those with greenish white skins.
  • Tomatoes should be of uniform size. Plum tomatoes, with elongated fruits, are firmer than round varieties. Choose fresh ones with no wrinkles.
  • Spur chillies should be fresh and have firm skins. Generally small ones are used, because if large ones were cut and spread out to make a blossom, they would cover the entire plate. However, large spur chilies are used for making anthurium flowers.
  • Pumpkins should have thick, firm flesh.Such pumpkins have a rough exterior.
  • Spring shallots and leek should be fresh and green with no yellowing on the leaves. Select thick, medium-sized plants.
  • Cabbage and Chinese cabbage should be fresh with firm, heavy heads. Use medium sized heads.
  • Taro should be of medium-size. The fragrant taro (Pheuak Hawm) has fine-textured flesh.
  • Lemons should be very fresh.
  • Cantaloupes should be those that are not yet fully ripe. The skin should be pale yellow without wrinkles or scratches.
  • Yam bean tubers used for carving should not be too large. Large, mature tubers have a lot of fibers. These become frayed in carving, detracting from the appearance of the finished work.
  • Green mangoes should be fully mature and of a variety whose flesh is not too crisp. The skin should be green and un-wrinkled and the stem should look fresh.
  • Papayas should be straight, thick-fleshed and without any bruises. They should not yet be fully ripe so that the flesh is firm and does not bruise easily. The Khaek Dam variety is recommended be cause of the beautifully colored flesh.
  • Watermelon should have red flesh and green rinds with no bruises or wrinkles.
  • Guavas should be those that are just becoming ripe. The skin should be a fresh light green skins and there should be no bruises or scratches.
  • Pineapple should have large eyes. The leaves should be fresh and green and there should be no shrivelling of the skin or stem.
  • Apples should be fresh with glossy, brightly colored skins and no bruises.
  • Sapodillas must be firm, so avoid fully ripe fruits. The skins should be even and clear. Avoid sapodillas that have been dyed for the market. Their skins have a dusty appearance.
  • Jujubes should have straight fruits with green skins and no bruises.
  • Rose-apples should have clear, fresh looking skins.
Make a habit to buy fresh fruit and also try to grow them yourself as it will be an added hobby and you can get the fruits and vegetables of your choice.

Pre-preparation before carving is as important as preparation before creating a recipe or a great dish. A well planned, and systematically planned routine will give you excellent results.

Preparations and Treatments of Vegetables and fruits before carving!

  • Tomatoes should be soaked in a mixture of lime juice and water to prevent browning.
  • Taro should be washed thoroughly before being peeled. If washed after peeling, a slime is released which causes itching.
  • Shallots and onions should be soaked in water before being peeled and carved to reduce irritation of the eyes.
  • Carrots should not be soaked in water before carving as this will make the flesh tougher and more difficult to carve.
  • Potatoes should be washed with water after peeling to remove the sap and then washed again after carving. This will help prevent browning.
  • Beets should be washed in water to which a little salt has been added. This will reduce loss of color. Also, if left standing, beets will blacken, so they should be kept moist by spraying them with water regularly.
  • Apples should be soaked in mixture of lime juice and water before being peeled to prevent browning.
  • Cantaloupes should be washed before carving. While carving, avoid letting water come into contact with the fruit because it will lose its taste and spoil more quickly.
  • Yam bean tubers should be soaked too long after carving, will yellow.
Just a good carving and preparations before the carving is not enough. After the carving ids done, the vegetable or the fruit starts losing juices, and moisture due to which it may changes shape and even lose its color and crispiness. Here are some tips to keep the carvings fresh and crisp, so that they are presentable and attractive when they are displayed.

Storing Fruits and Vegetables after carving!

  • Carved fruits and vegetables should not be left in water as this will cause petals to become discolored and to spoil.
  • After carving, fruits and vegetables should be placed in ice cold water so the petals of flower designs are firm and spread beautifully.
  • Each type of carved fruit should be kept separately. This will prevent loss of all your work in the event that one type spoils.
  • After carving, pumpkin should be dipped in water and removed right away. If left in water, flower petal designs will become bruised.
  • Store carved fruits and vegetables by putting them in containers and placing in a refrigerator, or if no refrigerator is available, by covering them with a damp piece of thin white cloth and putting them in a place protected from drafts so they do not dry and wilt.
For Further details and a Step By Step understanding of Fruit and Vegetable carving Check out this excellent book.

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