Gifts in a jars are sometimes seen as a folksy gift but are fairly practical, especially in tough financial times. If you are naturally a canner, you may already have the start of food gifts stacked in your pantry. If you're not, no problem.
You could spent $10, $12 or more on a "cookies in a jar" kit, or you could make your own, as I did on one particularly lean year after I was married. There are a number of sites featuring cookies in a jar recipes, or you could simply layer dry ingredients from any cookie recipe. Salsas, pestos and dried soup mixes are other easy options. One caveat - If you're interested in jarred food gifts, be sure to clean and sterilize them.
These recipes are from Irena Chalmers' An Edible Christmas. While I haven't tried them personally, they do seem interesting.
Rosemary Lime Vinegar
4 cups white wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic
6 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lime, thinly sliced
Use stainless steel saucepan when heating vinegar to avoid producing a metallic taste. Bring vinegar slowly to a boil over moderate heat. Peel garlic cloves but do not cut them. Place clove in each of two one-pint hot, sterilized bottles. Carefully strain hot vinegar into bottles and add three sprigs rosemary to each. Divide lime slices between bottles. Seal each bottle with its cork or cap. Heat more vinegar and add to bottle if needed to fill completely. Store in cool, dry place for at least two weeks before using. For best results use within six months.
Makes 2 pints
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes in tomato puree, undrained
2 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
In medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to simmer over medium-low heat, then cook for five minutes. Spoon salsa into hot, sterilized jars and attach lids. Process jars in a boiling water bath for five minutes. Remove from water and cool at room temperature.
Coriander and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Use up those pumpkin seeds!
Makes 1 1/2 cups
4 cups loosely packed fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, rinsed and dried
2/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 fresh hot chili pepper, seeded
zest of one lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
Put all ingredients in blender to form thick paste. Transfer to hot, sterilized jars. Label "Keep frozen" and make a "Use By" date of six months after pesto was made. Cover tightly, cool to room temperature and freeze.
Read other Homemade Holidays ideas.