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June 2012
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Visions of Sugar Plums Danced in Their Heads

Story by Courtney Smith Photography by Jeremy Bachuss

Most of us have not only heard, but read, repeated and joyfully recited the famous poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore. One of my favorite lines in this poem is "â ¦visions of sugar plums danced in their heads."

Though this line of the poem tends to stand out as very memorable, I have always had my own idea of what sugar plums really are. To me, sugar plums have always been little hard candies wrapped in colorful wrapping in all different colors; to others it is the sugar covered fruit that we have become very familiar with during the holidays used for decorating, historically, table settings.

Upon researching sugar plums and deciding how exactly to use them for the holidays, I discovered that they, in fact, are not fruits at all. They originally started out as nuts or seeds covered in a hard candied outer shell. Well, even though this was the discovery I made, sugar covered fruit was going to look way more attractive than sugar covered nuts, so I decided to still show you how to use Sugar Plums, a.k.a sugar covered fruit, to spice up your home for the holidays.

Now the first step to using sugar plums in your home is finding sugar plums! When I decided to write this article this was the first feat. I looked at numerous local stores that already had their Christmas spirit in high gear and could not find a single sugar plum! I guess as the years have gone on, it is not as popular to decorate with sugared fruit, but I thought I would try to bring the trend back. Due to this discovery, or lack thereof, I decided to take on this challenge myself. This way I got to choose exactly what fruit to use, got to experiment with what worked best, and I now had a great piece of this article where I can tell you how to make beautiful sugar fruit for your home.

First, you choose your fruit. I chose lemons, limes, plums, pears, apples, pomegranates and even sugared some magnolia leaves and holly berries. If you are wanting to use this fruit for the entire season, I would suggest picking up some faux fruit from a local store so you can enjoy your DIY sugar fruit all season long without those pesky fruit flies interfering with holiday get-togethers.

The next step is the proper sugar mixture. I would encourage you to get creative with this part. If you want to add some color, do so. If you want to cover half of some fruit and some whole fruit, I would encourage that as well. Get creative with your sugar fruit, there are no mistakes!

My sugar mixture consisted of regular sugar you probably have in your pantry at home, clear diamond glitter from the craft section and the larger sugar crystals usually used to top off a delicious cupcake! I mixed all of these together and it made, what I thought, was the perfect sugar mix. (Side note: I did leave out the larger sugar crystals when covering the smaller fruit completely, such as the lemons, limes and plums.)

The original recipe to making sugar fruit called for egg whites to hold the sugar in place, but because I was doing this merely for the looks of the fruit, I just used spray adhesive.

The last step is pretty easy, applying the sugar. To apply the sugar, I (and my crafty helper) would pick each fruit individually, spray the fruit where we wanted the sugar to stick and then roll the fruit in a bowl of our sugar concoction. You continue to do this with every piece of fruit that your heart full of holiday spirit desires!

You can use your sugar fruit anywhere around the house. The kitchen is the obvious choice of where to place the fruit, but there are endless options. A front porch sitting area with a side table would be a great place to land your sugar fruit. You can also use different bowls and pitchers and pretty dishes you only use for special occasions to pile on the fruit and set on your buffet as we did. This would also be a great way to spruce up your china cabinet for the holidays.

Let your imagination run wild as you try to find places all through the house to use your homemade sugar fruit. Just wait, I bet your guests will be in awe with what life your "sugar plums" give your home this holiday season! They will have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads even after Santa says, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!" n

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