How wonderful it will be when you welcome the holiday season knowing your gifts are ready to go.
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Mix 2 cups crushed fresh strawberries with 4 cups sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir one package dry pectin into 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the boiling water into the strawberries. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers. Place tops on the containers, and leave for 24 hours. Freeze and store frozen until ready to give. Makes 5 pints.
MORE: Peach Freezer Jam
Begin the potpourri mix with dried flowers, petals, herbs and fruits from your garden. Add essential oil to intensify the fragrance. Package in glassine bags from the craft store or glass jars. Embellish with a pretty ribbon. Search online for more specific instructions.
There are many possible ways of making potpourri—this article from Wikihow sets out the basics, after which it suggests various potpourri possibilities to try.
Get out a super large cooking pot.
- Chop finely 20 pounds tomatoes; 2 cups fresh cilantro, 2 large onions, 10 cloves garlic, 10 seeded jalapenos, 6 habanero peppers (or to taste) and 2 green peppers.
- Place all of the chopped vegetables in the pot.
- Add 2 tablespoons cumin, 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup white vinegar and the juice of 6 limes.
- Bring to a boil, lower temperature and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
- Drain off excess liquid.
- Fill containers (glass or plastic) leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cool. Add lids and freeze for up to one year.
Makes 18 cups salsa.
If you save seeds from your favorite open-pollinated garden plants, create a great gift for another gardener by packaging the seeds and presenting in a decorative way. Take photos while your garden is at its peak of beauty to include with your gift.
What a great way to preserve boundless summer zucchini, and make-ahead Christmas gifts.
- Place 2 pounds sliced zucchini and 2 medium onions, sliced, into a large non-reactive pot; add 1/4 cup salt and enough water to cover.
- Let stand for 2 hours; drain well.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups white vinegar, 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon each celery seed and turmeric and 2 teaspoons mustard seeds to a boil; pour over the zucchini and onions.
- Let stand for 2 hours.
- Bring to a boil for 5 minutes; pack in hot sterilized jars and seal; process according to jar manufacturer’s directions.
Makes about 3 pints.
- Place a saucepan with several inches of water over medium heat and bring water to a simmer.
- Break 3 large eggs into a metal mixing bowl and add 3/4 cup white granulated sugar and 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until mixture foams and becomes thick, hot, and smooth—8 or 10 minutes.
- Remove the curd from the heat; whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest and 5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperatures and cut into 1-tablespoon chunks.
- Continue whisking constantly until butter melts and is fully incorporated into the lemon curd.
- Transfer to jars or plastic containers. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic wrap on to the surface of the lemon curd.
- Allow cooling in the refrigerator. It will thicken as it cools, at least one hour.
- Remove plastic wrap and apply lids tightly.
Prepared lemon curd can be frozen for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed. To thaw, place the container in the refrigerator for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, consume within 4 weeks.
This recipe doubles well.
Make sure you add instructions with your gifts with how to use, how to store, and a best-before-date.
There you go—six ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Be sure to share your ideas in the comments below!