After my last lunchbox post, I had an anonymous request in the comments for directions to make the apple rabbits I had included. So I called my mom to make sure she wasn't the anonymous commenter (she's sneaky that way), then got out an apple, a knife and my camera.
Carving apples to look like bunny rabbits is a Japanese decorative technique often used when packing bentos for children. I don't usually spend time decorating my kiddo's lunch, but if three simple knife cuts will get him to eat his fruit, then I'm happy to oblige!
Using a red apple will give you the most color contrast for the ears. Begin by slicing the apple into eighths and remove the core. Sometimes the slices are cut shorter to help them fit into the bento.
Make the first two slices from a point about a third from one end of the slice. Cut about a quarter of an inch deep toward the two corners farthest from the point of origin. This should create a triangle shaped wedge on the skin of the apple.
Remove the triangle shaped wedge by slicing the skin under the apple from the widest end toward the point. The wedge should fall off and the ends of the ears be disconnected from the apple.
To prevent the apples from browning, slices are traditionally soaked in salt water. Adding ice will make the ears point up to complete the rabbit look. Water with lemon juice also works. I use orange juice, since I have a glass most mornings, so I can soak the apples, then drink the juice. I also think the orange juice improves the flavor.
Dry the apples and pack in lunchbox!
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