Gifts of Good Taste
Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011
Gifts from the kitchen are personal, fun and always tasteful no matter who you give them to; hard-to-shop-for relatives, friends, teachers, babysitters, neighbors, co-workers—the list goes on and on. Such presents also let recipients know you care enough to take the time to make something yourself. The process of preparing and packaging your presents can also provide a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of shopping at the mall. Start a fun and festive seasonal tradition when you can invite family and friends to take part in the preparations.
But what kinds of food crafts make great gifts? Make-your-own bacon, cheeses and spiced mustards are trendy with DIY food artisans but may end up going unused if presented to a less than gutsy giftee. Preserved fruits and vegetables are lovely, but they may not be a practical option if you don't know how to can or don't have an abundant garden. Thankfully there are plenty of effortless alternatives that don't require special equipment, artistic vision, an iron stomach or even much culinary expertise. Herbed vinegars, infused salts, flavored sugars, seasoned oils, spiced nuts, spice rubs, granola or mueslix, caramels and (of course) cookies use basic ingredients found in even the most barely-stocked pantry.
More Great Tips
- When selecting foods to gift, stick with things with a long shelf life that don't require refrigeration.
- Choose things that keep at least a week, such as our Honey Pecan Granola with Dried Fruits (pictured above) or caramel popcorn.
- If your gifts need to be shipped, look for things that are light, won't break and won't melt.
- To package or mail cookies, select ones that aren't crumbly. Hard cookies (such as biscotti or shortbread) or soft and chewy ones ship best. Bar cookies, especially moist ones like brownies, are also a good choice.
- Unfrosted cookies typically ship better than frosted ones. Look for recipes that have simple decorations like sprinkled sugar or chopped nuts.
- Use unbleached parchment paper, kitchen string, and fresh herbs and spices (such as bundles of rosemary or sticks of cinnamon) to add simple charm to your packages.
- Simple cellophane bags that allow you to see the beauty of their contents.
- Kitchen containers often make attractive and useful packaging. Consider lidded canning or spice jars, stoppered bottles, metal spice tins, coffee mugs or waxed paper-lined takeout-style boxes.
- Miniature kitchen tools make also fun package decorations.