Marmalades, chutneys and preserves make wonderful gifts, especially if you want to do something besides cookies and quick breads. But that means learning about home canning.
The principles of canning are more involved than what I can cover here. So, I recommend getting together with your friends and family and make it a canning party. This link takes you to an Allrecipes.com article on how to do just that. http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/How-to-Plan-a-Canning-Party/Detail.aspx
I also recommend using the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find, making sure they are at their peak. You can make preserves and jams from fruit. Cucumbers and other vegetables can be pickled.
If you’re planning on making fruit preserves, you’ll need pectin. Many fruits already contain pectin, but more is usually needed to cut back the cooking time. There are plenty of recipes available.
Here’s another Allrecipes.com article with more details on canning and preserving. http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Canning-and-Preserving/Detail.aspx
So, if money is a little tight this year and you want to give something more useful than socks, try making your own food gifts for this upcoming holiday season. Food gifts are almost always welcome. And if they’re homemade, your love and friendship are immediately evident. Cookies are still a great gift idea. But why not try something a little different. That’s it for our series for now. We may come up with some more ideas later. We’d love to add your ideas and recipes to The Bachlor’s Kitchen, so please pass them along by clicking on the comments link below this post or going to the Contact Us page.