Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'tis the season for lost arts

i like to give homemade gifts at christmas. i think this is due partly to the fact that i am broke but also because making something from scratch and giving something delicious to a person you love is the bees knees.

over the last few years i have crafted a select trio of the perfect christmas gifts. number one on the list is jam. growing up my maternal grandmother used to have the BEST strawberry jam. i loved it. loved, loved, loved it. she kept it in little plastic containers in the freezer. at some point i asked my grandma how she made such amazing strawberry jam. "sure-gel. the recipe is right on the box." what?! i couldn't believe it was so easy.

a few years later my paternal grandmother offered me her water bath canner and i snapped up the offer. then i made jam and i have made jam every christmas since.

i don't make the freezer kind like my grandma used to. i like to actually cook and can it. i do this so it last longer but also cuz it is fun and little mason jars are cute.

this year i made two batches of strawberry and one batch of triple berry (strawberry, raspberry and blackberry) - about 20 jars or so. now, i love giving people jam. i LOVE it cuz it really does taste awesome and it is a fantastic homemade gift. but i'll tell ya' it is a real labor of love. canning is a lost art probably for good reason. it is time consuming. very time consuming. but spreading homemade jam on toast or on one of kp's biscuits is just so kick ass that i sweated and toiled all day sunday in order to deliver.

i've also started canning pasta sauce. i used my trusted and true recipe of crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic (lots of garlic), salt, red pepper flakes (lots of read pepper flakes) and lemon zest. i canned the sauce is cute lil' pint jars. they are just darling......and delicious!!

so jam and pasta are the canned duo of my trifecta of perfect homemade gifts. the third of course is cookies. this year i am doing two. another trusted and true recipe - oatmeal, dried cranberries or cherries and chopped pecans. mmmm. mmmm. mmmm. i think i'm going to do some sugar cookies as well.

you better keep your fingers crossed that you're lucky enough to get one of my holiday delights!

and check this out. kp found this gem for me. she's definitely getting some christmas delights!