It’s Foodie Tuesday!
image via matt bites
Inevitably sometime around December 1st I will start searching for foodie gift ideas to make for family and friends, and every year I run into the same predicament. Many recipes involve pre-planning and patience (not two of my strengths). This year I vow to do things a little differently. I will make things ahead of time, starting with some homemade vanilla extract this week.
If you’re thinking ahead to the holidays, or just need to stock your pantry with last minute hostess gifts, here are a few foodie gifts you can start making right now.
Infuse Your Booze
homemade pomegranate liqueur via instructables
Flavoured vodkas, gins and more are easy to make at home and make fantastic gifts. I’ve seen recipes for making your own gin using vodka, but you can also make other kinds of infused drinks and liqueurs. Here are a couple recipes to get you started; pomegranateliqueur and limoncello.
DIY Vanilla Extract
Making vanilla extract entails a similar process, with a different end. DIY vanilla extract is an easy gift that will impress your foodie friends or avid bakers. To make it take five or six vanilla beans, slice the beans in the middle and put them in a glass container (like a large mason jar or a bottle with a tight-fitting cork). Add two cups of vodka or rum, shake and put somewhere cool and dark. Once a week take the jar out and give it a couple more shakes. In aproximately two months your vanilla will be ready to use and enjoy. To package, pour a few ounces into small bottles and tie a piece of ribbon or twine around the top. Incidentally, it turns out there is a lot to know about vanilla beans, which I didn’t realize until I read this article.
There was a time when I was completely intimidated by canning. I assumed it would be a lot of tedious work (true) with some element of scalding danger due to the boiling water and bubbling hot fruit that would be involved (true). What I didn’t realize was that it’s also incredibly rewarding. There can be a lot of gear that goes along with canning, but if you want to make a basic fruit jam or chutney you can most likely get by with items you already have in your kitchen. A large stock pot, metal tongs, baking sheet, laddle, tea towel and some paper towels are all you will need. Here are a few recipes that sound tasty; mango chutney, blueberry jam, and peach bourbon jam. For a basic rundown on no-frills canning for the novice head over to How About Orange, and for more detailed instructions this website may be helpful.