Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Christmas Gifts

I neglected to mention (because I didn't post at all in December) that for Christmas this year we gave canned food as gifts. Home canned food that is.

The inspiration hit me in the summer while I was going over my list of "to can" items. I thought it might be fun to can something that represented each of the members of the family and give the collection of items as gifts to family and friends.

My canned gifts were:

Lace's White Chocolate Raspberry Sauce
M's Caramel Apple Butter
K's Frog Swamp Cinnamon Apple Sauce
L's Vanilla Strawberry Jam
W's Fuzzy Butt Peach Butter
Bad Dog Peach Salsa

All of the main ingredients are Colorado grown and where I could I supplied additional items from my garden like jalapenos and onions for the salsa.

Dearest husband made labels that reflected each of us. For example L's had hearts on it, while K's had Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. W's had a pacifier that looked like a peach at the end.

We got plastic baskets from our local dollar store and wrapped them up. They were HUGE hits with all friends and family and a great ego boost for me. It's one thing to think my jam tastes good, it 's another to hear that some families ate it up before Christmas break was over.

When people asked about it (and they almost always did) I had an opportunity to share with people about eating local (since all the ingredients were as local as I could get them except of course the chocolate) and preserving our own. I got to talk about the environment, useful skills, local economics, avoiding preservatives and chemicals and health. It just LOOKED like a jar of Peach Salsa instead of charts and grafts etc.

We have already received some jars back from family with winks to "not forget them next year".

Which leaves me some creativity to think about next year.

Help me readers? You're my only hope?

Does the idea of our Canned Family sound like a winner and something I could do next year with different canned items? Ideas include:

Pears - pear chutney, pear salsa, pear butter
Peaches - spiced peaches, peach ketchup, vanilla peach sauce, peach rum sauce
Strawberries - ......after strawberry jam I'm not sure what else to do
Tomatoes - Tomato salsa, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, whole tomatoes
Cherries - Cherry jam, Cherry pie filling

You get the idea...

The OTHER idea I had was to make "gift packs". For example:

Home canned tomato sauce, homemade (and dried) noodles, homemade bread and dried garden herbs

Home canned salsa with homemade chips and seasonings

You get the idea. Right?

So if it was you, which would you receive better? The Canned Family or the Gift Packs?


Wendy said...

I would like the canned family, but if I were, for instance, a working parent and my spouse also worked, the gift pack would be a better choice for me, because it would give me a home-cooked meal on at least one night of the many I'm sure I would not feel like cooking ;).

So, I guess it would depend on the recipient, which would be better. I think you should consider doing both.

Great idea, by the way! Such a cool thing to give ... and my mother-in-law often gives home-canned preserves as gifts. It's always a treat!

TheSurvivalMom said...

I love this idea and would love the recipes, too!

Courtney said...

I love the gift pack idea -- what a clever thought!

Bitsy said...

I love the gift pack idea too... very practical!

Ing said...

if I didn't have much time to cook I would love the gift packs, otherwise I'd like the canned family better. My suggestion with that one is to stick with the canned items that you got the most raves about and include a new one or two each year. That way your recipients get some tried and true and something new to try as well. Great idea!

Michele said...

We usually give a bit of both. I usually give our family a gift basket (picked up at yard sale over the summer) a variety of breakfasty sorts of things like a a couple varieties of jam, homemade pancake mix, honey, pie filling (great topping for pancakes) homemade teas and then throw in something else like pickles or salsa. Keeps them guessing! :)

Post a Comment