Want to give gifts that are useful? Do you want them to have a personal touch? Would you rather not spend very much money? Here’s some of my favorite food related DIY gifts:
Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract is easy to make – for step by step instructions, check out this blog post. For great gifts, buy a nice quality rum or vodka in nip bottles. Following the recipe on a smaller scale, putting one halved or quartered vanilla bean into each little container. These will need to sit for a month or two before the extract is fully flavored.
Home Grown Tea or Herbs: Drying herbs and flowers from your garden is a great way to enjoy these home-grown flavors all year round. Read this blog post to learn how. Herb or tea mixes are beautiful and useful, and friends will love to know that you grew and dried them yourself!
Soup Mix: Soup mixes are perfect winter gifts. Make some nice soup flavor combinations using a mix of dried ingredients. Thes best place to find a good selection is in the bulk section of your local co-op. Click here for a great lentil soup recipe, made all of dry bulk ingredients. You can mix everything together in a bag or layer ingredients in a ball jar for a beautiful and long-lasting edible gift.
Pickles: You may only want to give fermented foods to select friends and family. For those who enjoy saurkraut and would have fun trying new fermented veggies, however, this can be a very special gift. Try layering slices of different colored veggies and adding flavors like garlic, onion, or ginger. For easy step-by-step instructions on fermenting an assortment of veggies, check out this post.
Home-Canned Food: What did you preserve this year? Jams, jellies, pickles, salsa, hot sauce, apple sauce – these all make great gifts. Don’t have a garden? Consider making a batch of cranberry sauce or orange marmalade – both use ingredients that are abundant in stores at this time of year and make beautiful delicious products to distribute to all your friends and family.