Oct 3

Blossoming Garnishes—How to carve a carrot ume blossom.

in Bento, Fruits & Vegetables, Fuji Craft, Fuji Favorites, Japanese, Oyatsu/Snack, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type, Tips & Tricks

One of the things that I find captivating about Japanese cuisine is the presentation. It is beautiful. I read somewhere that Japanese cuisine takes advantage of the four distinct seasons and that garnishes are often created to give a sense of the season that the dish is representing. Although it is Fall now, I recently learned a technique for making an ume blossom (plum blossom/Japanese apricot blossom) that I just had to share with you. The blossom is orange, so at least the color is seasonally appropriate, even if the blossom isn’t!
The equipment that you will need to make these blossoms is a good sharp knife (I find a paring knife works well since the cuts you will be making are small), a vegetable cutter in a blossom shape, and a medium to large size carrot. These cutters can be found on-line (example). You could also use small cookie cutters or fondant cutters like these as long as your slices are thin enough for you to push the cutter all the way through.

Start out by peeling a carrot and then cutting it into 1/4″ discs.
Place the cutter on a carrot slice and press straight down to cut out the blossom. I like to place a bit of folded paper towel between my hand and then cutter so the cutter doesn’t cut uncomfortably into my hand.
Carefully score the blossom from the center out between each of the five petals, making sure not to cut down more than half way.
Cut away a small wedge of carrot (using the knife on about a 20 to 30-degree angle) on each petal to make the blossom more 3-dimensional.
I love having carrots on hand now because these make such pretty garnishes! You could use the same technique with a radish. I also love making these for Squirrel because she gets so excited to eat her “flowers”.
If you’re going for something more seasonal, you could always do what I did in a bento for Squirrel this week. I took a slice of cheddar cheese and used a pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out a cute pumpkin shape to lay over the top of her veggies.

Armed with a few cookie cutters the possibilities are endless!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lolly October 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

I would try it but I might slice off a finger tip in the process. That looks like some fancy cutting! I’ll stick to the shaped cheese!


Jennifer October 3, 2008 at 9:12 pm

How cute those are! And a great idea to get the kids to eat their veggies!


magikjaz October 4, 2008 at 1:03 am

omg that’s fabulous! I haven’t any kids to coerce but I wanna try it anyway! totally makes eating veggies more fun!


Once Upon a Plate October 4, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Very clever! Thank you for sharing the technique. :)


Angie October 4, 2008 at 11:19 pm

ha! I love this. I usually cut them just with a sharp knife. Gotta look for some cutting patterns.


Jen October 5, 2008 at 4:06 am

Hey, That is easy…I could even probably do the carrot thing.


Misha October 6, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Fun idea! Another reason to collect more cookie cutters! :-)


Rochelle October 6, 2008 at 6:45 pm

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Melanie Gray Augustin October 6, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Oh those carrots are so cute! You see, I would have just stopped at the outside shape, but you go the whole way with the 3D cutting! Mmm… might have to get my “kitchen tool” onto doing these :)

Hehehe… I was just remembering, we had a “nama harumaki” party at a friend’s place recently. I thought I’d be good and do the vegetable cutting… until hubby kicked me out of the kitchen to go and play with my friend’s baby. He’s a portable tool too!


Shanda October 8, 2008 at 6:44 am

I love it! Thanks for sharing!


maybelle's mom October 9, 2008 at 9:42 am

oh your carrots are simple brilliance. love them. and i agree, we do lots of things for love.


Madeline and Family October 31, 2008 at 11:14 am

That’s very artistic. I love to learn about new ethnic ways of preparing food. Thanks for the post.


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