How to warp fruit?
August 4, 2014 7:17 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for tried-and-tested methods for shaping fruit on the branch. What have you tried that has worked?

We have custody of a neglected allotment with a few mature fruit trees - quince, pear and apple. I'd like to try forcing some into shapes, in bottles, etc., and "printing" letters onto the skins. Googling brings up lots of finshed examples, cubic Japanese watermelons, and so on, but no detailed how-tos.
The basics seem straightforward - stick the tip of the branch into a bottle and bind it on, tie a wooden box in place, mark letters on the fruit with ?tape? but as we're in a rainy, cool climate, and can only visit the trees once a week, I want to make sure and avoid damage, mold, mildew etc. Do I use glass or plastic bottles? Will a growing pear start to rot where it hits wood? Do elastic bands work?
Has anybody got direct experience doing this with either fruit or veggies?
posted by runincircles to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Old-school answer: My grandad used to just tie a jam jar onto a branch of his apple tree with string and wait for the apples to take the shape of the jar. So I'd suggest using glass and string.

As kids, we just stuck Sellotape on the fruit to make shapes/initials, but if you're only visiting the trees once a week and it's damp there, I'd consider painters' tape or maybe even duct tape, if you're okay being really gentle when you peel it off.
posted by vickyverky at 9:20 AM on August 4, 2014

Here are some stupidly expensive molds that you clip around a baby cucumber so that you can have star-shaped or heart-shaped slices in your salad. Hard clear plastic, hinged so you snap them open to let the fruit out. Here are a cheaper version, also clear hard plastic, but a solid tube with no hinge, you just have to wiggle it off the ripe fruit I guess.

It looks like any clear plastic or glass container will work, but the challenge would be to choose something the right size (so that the fruit grows just big enough to be constrained by it at the same time it gets ripe) and to chose something that you'll be able to get loose.
posted by aimedwander at 10:50 AM on August 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another idea would be to buy alphabet beads, the kind that are shaped like letters, not the printed blocks (unless you found blocks that were deeply embossed). String the letters onto elastic, and wrap around a half-grown fruit. You'd have to practice to get a good tension that lets the letters press in without making an unsightly constriction around the fruit's new waist.
posted by aimedwander at 10:56 AM on August 4, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all!
posted by runincircles at 12:41 AM on August 5, 2014

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