Artists throughout history have found great beauty and inspiration in the simplicity of a basket of fruit, from Caravaggio’s 1599 Baroque masterpiece “Basket of Fruit” to Frida Kahlo’s juicy work “Still Life with Fruit and Parrot.” And the fruit admiration society wasn’t just for those who were skilled with a paintbrush. For centuries, fruit served not only as delicious nourishment, but a kind of beautiful, edible décor: a bowl full of apples as a makeshift centerpiece at the dinner table; clove-studded oranges arranged like potpourri during the holiday season.
At some point in history, though, we decided to start hiding our fruits and vegetables, stuffing them into chilly refrigerators and—more often than we’d probably like to admit—even forgetting that they’re in there. If you’re looking for a way to bring your fruit out of crisper shadows and into a place of household prominence, look no further than a three-tiered fruit hanging basket.
A retro piece of kitchen flair that peaked in popularity around the time Three’s Company was a hit, the three-tiered fruit basket seems, at first, like an alarmingly simple construction: A trio of wire baskets looped together with a little bit of metallic chain, after all, doesn’t necessarily scream “glamorous décor.” But it’s not about the basket itself—it’s about what goes in it.
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Looking to add a bit of tropical flair to your life? Stack your citrus fruits—limes in one basket, lemons in another, oranges in a third—for a triptych of zesty delight. Overrun with end-of-season tomatoes? Your basket will soon become a ruby-hued installation art piece. No matter what fruit or vegetables cycle in and out of the basket on any given day, the tool adds a sense of vibrancy to a kitchen.
It also helps reduce food waste. Since hanging mine up several years ago, I’ve become more conscious of what fruits and vegetables we have on hand, ensuring that I’m using up zucchini from the garden and eggplant from the farmers’ market instead of finding them squishy and inedible at the bottom of the vegetable bin a few weeks past their prime. During particularly produce-flushed times, I’ve even used the basket as a way of tracking which fruits and vegetables should be eaten first to avoid spoilage, with the top basket for those items that need to be incorporated into a meal as soon as possible.
And when it comes to price, you can definitely shell out for the William-Sonoma version that’s over $50—but don’t. My $11 one from Home Depot is a workhorse of form and function that’s simultaneously a compliment magnet and a practical way we’ve altered our eating habits for the better. What more could you ask for?