Gifts of food in jars are some of our all-time favorite presents - they're low-cost, fun to put together, and even more of a delight to cook or bake. I have fond memories of gift exchanges in college wherein we’d trade these magical canned DIY-foods with one another; as broke students, not only were these presents within our meager budgets, they were also an opportunity to indulge in foodstuffs outside of our normal cheap-o diet. In addition to being economical to create, even the most inept cook can put together these gifts without too much trouble (I hope!). If the recipient knows the basics of measuring ingredients and turning on a stove top or oven, they’re pretty much good to go. However, it might be a good idea to also include your phone number, just in case they get stuck and need a bit of help.
What you’ll need:
- Clean, lidded jars in assorted sizes
- The dry ingredients as per your recipe
- A list of the wet ingredients needed for each recipe (to send along with the jar)
- Ribbons, bows, and other decorative accoutrements as desired
If you have some favorite recipes of your own, feel free to create your own variations, but if you’re in a pre-holiday brain coma or otherwise have no idea where to start, there are a few ideas listed below that you can try out.
In no particular order, a top ten list:
Who doesn’t love brownies? With this mix, you can sweeten up someone’s holiday exponentially, inspiring smiles all around — and ensure that you have a workout partner after January first.
Nutritious, delicious, vegan, and easy to make, you really can’t go wrong with a good lentil soup. This is one of the easiest food jars concoctions out there, as the only thing that needs to be measured and added is water.
If the person you’re giving this to can crack open a beer and turn on the oven, they too can enjoy a belly-warming loaf of home-baked bread that’ll make their house smell like heaven.
For the health-conscious folks in your life, why not whip up a batch of homemade granola? All they need to add is almond milk or fat-free yogurt, and they have a happy bowl of morning glee to enjoy.
An extra-special take on chocolate chip cookies, these can also be veganized by using egg replacer and Earth Balance in lieu of eggs and butter. They’re cheerful, fun, and you can use any colour M&Ms to customize them for your recipient.
The ultimate winter drink, chai heats you up from nose to toes with its warming spices. Simmer this mix in any milk of choice (almond, soy, rice, or dairy), add in some honey or agave nectar, and fall in love.
The holiday season of peace and giving can also end up being the season of shared colds and flus, so comfort food in a jar that can be put together by just adding water and stirring between coughing fits is something to be treasured.
It’s helpful to be able to keep Christmas breakfast preparation nice and simple when you were up drinking ‘til 3 am and the kidlets shrieked you awake at 5.
Hearty and full of warming deliciousness, chili can be augmented to suit anyone’s tastes. This is a great base to start with, and the recipient can customize theirs with their favorite veggies, meats, or evil death chili peppers of pain.
This one’s a bit more labor intensive and will require a bit of extra work (rolling out and cutting out shapes with a cookie cutter), but for the ultimate pet lover, it’ll be well worth the puppy-kisses they’ll receive.
Lead image by Claudia Ficca