For many years I was dreading the pre-Christmas shopping experience – getting small but meaningful gifts for friends, colleagues and family members. Not only was it thought- and time-consuming to buy the “right” presents but every year the whole saga cost me a small fortune! Despite my best efforts to find unique/personalised gifts, I just knew that some of them got passed on, exchanged or not appreciated.
One year my daughter was in her final term at nursery, which was just before the Christmas holidays, so I had to get farewell presents and Christmas gifts for the teachers – all six of them! These – on top of the usual presents for friends, neighbours, family members – were becoming just too much of a hassle, so I decided to make some things of my own to give to everyone. Food was the obvious choice – so I baked some cookies and made my first Christmas preserves. Ever since then I’ve hardly ever bought any Christmas gifts – I just make my own and I keep some jars of preserves for myself too.
The best Homemade Christmas preserves
I don’t like last-minute stressing out, so for me the best Christmas gifts are those that I can make well in advance. Luckily jams, chutneys, mincemeat, pickles and other preserves should rest for a few weeks before opening, so they make ideal presents as far as I’m concerned! Also, fruits preserved in alcoholic syrup and boozy cordials are always welcome as well as some yummy pickles and radishes!
These are our tried and tested preserve recipes that make excellent Christmas gifts:
You should make these a few weeks in advance and keep them in sterilised jars:
- Christmas chutney
- Pear and chilli chutney
- Spiced beetroot and orange chutney
- Spiced apple and dried fruits chutney
- Spiced apple, fig and walnut chutney
- Pear chutney
- Onion and orange marmalade
- Chilli, onion and tomato chutney
Homemade Pastes & Jams
These pastes and jams can be made a couple of days before opening so they are ideal for last minute gifts and they get very much appreciated during the festivities or at Christmas parties!
- Sun-dried tomato pesto
- Harissa paste
- Red chilli paste
- Chilli jam
- Thai Chilli jam
- Fig jam with rosemary
- Caramelized red onion marmalade
- Chilli and tomato jam
Pickles & Relishes
These pickles and relished go well with leftover or cold meat – so take a jar with you to a party and you’ll be adored! Make sure you keep a jar or two for yourself as they come very handy during the Christmas celebrations!
- Festive pickled red onion
- Red onion and radish relish
- Pickled cucumber
- Cranberry and beetroot relish
These jarred antipasti and delicatessens make lovely presents – you can make them up to a week in advance.
The secret of a good mince pie is in the mincemeat– it has to be home-made! Here are three of our most amazing mincemeat recipes – you can make these a few weeks before Christmas, creating many jars for yummy gifts! Read more about Mincemeat.
You can decorate the jars very easily – just put some stickers on them, stencil them or simply tie some Christmassy material over the lid and tie it with some ribbon! Don’t forget to label them too!
If you want more recipe ideas for edible Christams gifts read these articles: