When it comes time for your child’s birthday at school, and you are on the hot seat to deliver a yummy birthday treat to the class of 25, what do you say to eschewing those nasty store-bought cupcakes with the trans fat this and the high fructose that and the ingredient list a chemist couldn’t decipher?
I have two words for you, and they are good words, careful words, wise words. Delicious words, in fact!
My son’s 9th birthday couldn’t have been any sweeter than it was with these kebabs, delivered to the class while the kids sang him the birthday song. As school birthday treats go, this one got an A+.
At home, I threaded some fruit chunks onto a wooden skewer, laid them all on a tray, and away I drove to school to be the fruit lady. Now, if I had made a fruit salad, that would be fine, too, but somehow, the kebab beguiled. It charmed. The kebab was unique. The kebab was a little kooky, even. Definitely worth eating!
I learned a few lessons along the way, but really, this is a very simple operation so don’t overthink it. Lessons learned were:
- Have a variety of fruits in bite-size chunks.
- If you use something like an apple chunk, you must dip the cut apples in acidulated water (lemon juice water) before using, then dry off. Otherwise, they will oxidize and get brown. Kids won’t eat brown fruit.
- Top the skewer with something special if you like. I used brownie bites, but you could easily top it with a mini marshmallow, or leave the kebab all fruit. Your choice.
- If you do use a special treat like a tiny brownie square, then put “dry” fruit around it. A grape is an example of dry fruit. You want something that won’t leak juice unto the brownie bite. A watermelon chunk would be too wet and leaky, for example.
- You could do a sort of color theme (a red fruit kebab might have watermelon, grapes, apple slices, strawberries) or a multicolored rainbow kebab might include green kiwi or grapes, orange slices or cantaloupe or mango, yellow pineapple, purple blueberries or grapes, etc. The red in your rainbow could be watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, or hey, even a cherry tomato! Isn’t a tomato actually a fruit?
- Don’t be afraid of repeating a fruit chunk. More than 1 grape on a kebab is dandy!
- Cut all the fruit ahead of time and place it in separate bowls. Then get a kebab stick and make an assembly line process. Exploit child labor if you have it handy.
- This might be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Wooden kebab sticks are sharp, so you will be the best judge of whether your child and his friends are old enough to handle the stick without incident. For us, age 9 was just fine. There were no sword fights.
- Fruits (such as grapes, watermelon, apples, oranges, cantaloupes, mangos, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, cherry tomato for a wild card!)
- Wooden kebab sticks (one per person)
- Special treat (such as mini marshmallow or brownie bite) optional
Cut fruit into bite-size chunks (do not cut grapes or whole berries). Thread fruit chunks onto wooden skewers. As you make each skewer, lay it down on a large tray. Once you cover the tray with a single layer of skewers, place a piece of waxed paper on top and begin your next layer of skewers if needed. This will keep them tidier than if you pile skewers on top of each other and the fruit starts getting entwined.
If you are using a special treat, put that on first or use it as an ending piece.
Plan for one skewer per person.
Fruit kebabs could also be great as:
- an appetizer
- a brunch offering
- a snack
This is entered in the contest Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France Cheese, Rösle, Emile Henry, Rouxbe and ManPans.