Strawberries make a beautiful garnish beyond dessert plates, though they can grace many of those as well. Cut strawberries can be used as garnish on salads, on the rim of drinks and as an accompaniment to a range of appetizers such as cheese boards.
Strawberry decorations can be as simple or as intricate as you like, whether you are searching for a minimalist look, a nature-inspired garnish or an artful addition to a plate. With a few tips for cut strawberries and precisely slicing the fruit in a variety of shapes, your presentation can be brought to new heights in no time.
How to Make Strawberry Decorations
A sharp paring knife is quite important for cutting and slicing strawberries precisely. The easiest strawberry decoration to make is a fan. Most other garnishes build on these cut strawberries with new arrangements.
To make a fan, simply cut just below the green top of the strawberry all the way through to the point at the bottom and repeat so there are medium slices of strawberry connected by the green stem. Use your finger to spread the slices out a bit so the strawberry will lie flat on a plate or on top of a dessert.
The only garnish that may be simpler is a strawberry for the rim of a glass. To do this, use the knife to slice from the middle of the bottom point up to about halfway to two-thirds of the way through the middle of the strawberry. Wedge the rim of the glass into this cut to serve the strawberry as a drink garnish.
Making Strawberry Hearts
To build on more complicated strawberry decorations, begin by creating two hearts out of two strawberry halves. To make two hearts, cut the green stem off straight across the top. Next, slice the strawberry in half the long way down the middle from the center of the de-stemmed top through the pointed end.
Use the knife to cut a small "v" into the top of the two halves like you are coring the strawberry halves. Do not cut all the way through to the back but rather taper off toward the middle of the strawberry.
Another way to make a heart is to remove the top of the strawberry and thinly slice the entire strawberry from top to point all the way through. Do not separate the thin slices, but use your pointer finger and thumb to fan the pieces into a straight line standing on its side or what is the peel or outside of the strawberry. Repeat with another strawberry and then inch the two lines together to form a "v." Next, use your fingers to curve the fan into an "m" shape to complete the top of the heart.
Making Strawberry Roses
Using a thinly sliced and fanned strawberry, a flower or rosette can be made by tightly spiraling the pieces in on themselves. Once the strawberry slices are spiraled in, carefully pick up the fanned spiral and pinch the slices to form the base of the flower. If the strawberry will not hold its shape when pinched together, use a toothpick through the base to keep it in place and use scissors to cut off the excess toothpick ends.
Finally, it is possible to cut a rose from a single, whole strawberry – and possibly easier too. To accomplish this beautiful task, de-stem the strawberry and slice off just enough straight across the top where the stem was so that the strawberry will sit stable and flat on its top. Use the paring knife to slice four flaps on four sides of the strawberry, using your finger to pull them out a bit. None of these cuts should go all the way through the strawberry, meaning the strawberry should remain intact and whole to look like a rose.
Repeat the same three to four cuts slightly higher than the last, but offset them so that the new cuts reveal a flap or petal at the corner of the two lower petals. Repeat until you reach the point of the strawberry, continuing to use your thumb to open up each petal a bit more.
Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.