Whether edible or simply a handmade gift using food ingredients and flavors is a great way to create unique and personal gifts for the holidays or any time of the year. Here are 5 easy food gifts you can make at home in a short amount of time.
Why make your own gifts?
- Personal touch for the recipient
- Way to recycle some food products
- Perfect hostess gifts to take to your holiday parties
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#1 Salt and spice blends
Making your own salt blends that are combinations of your favorite seasonings and spices. There are lots of different options when making our own spice blends. Here are two of my favorite blends, Lemon Rosemary Salt and Chipotle Lime Salt. The lemon rosemary is perfect to sprinkle on veggies, salads, fish and chicken.
Making your own salt blends
Choose a good salt. Not only is the flavor of the salt important here but so is the texture. You want to use a flaked salt such as kosher salt or a coarse ground salt. I made mine with a coarse ground sea salt which worked well, but may be best used in a salt grinder rather than sprinkled by hand.
To extend the shelf life of the salt and maintain the vibrant flavors, any fresh ingredients you use need to be dried. You can dry out your own fresh herbs or take a shortcut and use store bought dried herbs.
The rind of most citrus fruits, lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit are a great source of scent and flavor to use in making flavored salts. You can make your own or if time is short, purchasing and using a dehydrated citrus rind works well too. Here are my recommendations for some great dehydrated citrus rinds available for purchase from The Savory Spice Shop.
Packaging your spices
The possibilities are endless here. In an effort to be more conscious of reducing my plastic use and recycling containers, I really like the idea of recycling jars. Here I recycled an old spice jar and another container. Other options include small decorated boxes or even buying a salt grinder and putting your handmade salt inside.
#2 DIY Hand scrubs
Homemade hand scrubs are easy to make and a gift almost everyone enjoys receiving. In these Coconut oil hand scrubs, use recycled coffee grounds and coconut to create two different blends for hand scrubs.
Choosing ingredients for hand scrubs
Brown sugar or refined sugar is the best to use for making these scrubs as they are less abrasive and thus less likely to irritate the skin.
Using essential oils to add aroma to your hand scrubs is a way to save some time. However, I recommend buying a quality, organic essential oil to add to our hand scrub.
Here are my favorite essential oils…
#3 Jarred foods such as jams, jellies and pickled veggies
Now we get some the first of the edible handmade gifts. Homemade jams and jellies or pickled are a great gift to make and give out at the holidays. But I say keep it simple and focus on making simple jams or jellies in the refrigerator rather than involving the entire process of jarring and canning.
In these versions the process is way more simple but these products require storage in the refrigerator rather than on a shelf in the cabinet and they also likely won’t last as long in the refrigerator. My research indicates that it is most commonly accepted that these homemade products will last at least 6 months under adequate refrigeration.
In this low sugar jam recipe, Strawberry basil chia jam, chia provides the thickening agent. You can mix up the flavors in the jam using different fruits, spices and herbs using the same technique and chia seeds. Throw a jar of this into a small gift package along with some nuts and crackers and you’ve got an awesome gift basket to give to friends or family.
If veggies are your thing, consider making your own personal blend of pickled vegetables. The pickled red beets and eggs are the perfect color for a holiday gift. Afraid your friends don’t like beets? You can use the same pickling brine and process but change up the vegetables and eliminate the eggs. You can also add in other flavors such as spicy peppers, fresh herbs and roasted garlic.
# 4 Making chocolate treats
Making homemade chocolate is so easy. It takes less than 10-15 minutes cooking and then about an hour in the freezer to harden up. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark is perfect for the Christmas holidays but my favorite is this chocolate recipe, Dark Chocolate Quinoa. In this recipe, caramelized quinoa is mixed into dark chocolate creating a nice crunchy chocolate bark.
Choose a quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao or more to make your own chocolates. It has the best flavor and health benefits as well. Break up chocolate into a Mason Jar and tie it with a ribbon for a cute and clever container idea.
#5 Homemade baked goods
My mom always made tons of cookies at Christmas time. I would say anywhere from 5-8 varieties of cookies. And while the family always got plenty to eat and enjoy, she also used these to give away as gifts to friends and co-workers. My favorites to give away are these Bursting Berry Pumpkin Muffins or some homemade Southern Style Pumpkin Biscuits. Pair these up with a jar of the homemade jam you made and it’s a match made in heaven.
You can also make homemade cookie, bread and dessert bar jars. The technique here is to combine all the dry ingredients into a jar and attach a card telling the recipient what wet ingredients to add, what size dish to cook it in and how long/temperature to cook.
I know making your own easy food gifts to give away is time-consuming but so is shopping. And these ideas also may be the perfect idea to give to someone you don’t know what to buy. At the end, whoever receives your gift will appreciate the extra time and the personal touch you put into making your own easy food gifts.
What homemade gifts do you enjoying creating and giving? Tell me about your favorites. Also, if you try any of these easy food gifts, please tell me about your experience. Did you find them easy? Were they enjoyed by your gift recipients? Leave me a comment here on the blog or send me a message using the chat function in the bottom right of the computer screen.