Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What to Bring to the Office Potluck: Fruit Cups!!

Whenever someone has a birthday in my workplace, we all sign a card and bring a treat (usually cupcakes). When I first joined the lab, it was cupcakes almost every month. I love cupcakes and cookies like everyone else (see accompanying sweets on all tea trays). However, in June I decided that cupcakes and sweets were passé and our parties needed a lift. So, I decided to bring fruit.

Seriously, fruit to a birthday party seems a bit too health conscious. Birthdays are a time to let loose and eat cake! In my defense, fruit is also tasty and can be dressed up too! Also, someone always brings donuts or cookies along so not everyone is forced to eat fruit (as if you need to be forced to eat something as cute as this...). My brother said that he expected my fruit cups to come back uneaten. How wrong he was! They were a hit and I had none left after the party.

The problem I had was how to bring it to work. In a big bowl? Everyone takes a scoop? On a tray? I looked everywhere for the right container and came upon these little plastic, 6 oz containers from our grocery store. They were incredibly inexpensive and held the perfect amount of fruit. 

So, the first time I brought fruit, I added starfruit on top for some pizzazz. Although it was pretty and interesting (not many people have tried starfruit), it was not quite ripe so the sweetness did not come through. It was also a little bland. So, the second time around I use my cookie cutters to cut tiny stars out of peaches. The peaches held up really well to the cookie cutter. I tried with pineapple but the fibers did not want to be cut. I think mango would work well also. 

Some fruit I would not recommend: bananas (tasty but become brown and mushy fast), apples (also brown unless you spritz some lemon, which some people may or may not like), and too much liquidy stuff (for example, add orange but only a few slices). As always, buy fruit in season. They are cheap and taste best when purchased in season. Also, make sure things stay cold with ice packs and cooler bags. I love a chilled fruit cup on a warm day. 

I was surprised by what a hit the fruit cups were. Everyone was delighted to have their own serving and they liked trying all the different fruits. So, at your next gathering, shake things up a little and bring fruit instead of sweets. Make sure you bring one for everyone though, as these little guys go fast.