Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Thinking About Christmas in July - YIKES

 I know!  I know!  I know!
Gardens are coming on and flowers are blooming.  The heat is on and rains are falling.  BUT, yes now is the time to think about some items for our Christmas gift boxes.
Some gifts have to be thought of during the summer months - because that is when ingredients are plentiful!


PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE JAM
2 quarts crushed/finely chopped pineapple (about 2 whole pineapples)
2 1/2 C white sugar
2 1/2 C brown sugar
1 lemon - pulp and juice
2 C water
1 - 16 oz. jar maraschino cherries (chopped and rinsed)
1 tsp. almond extract
Makes 8 - 1/2 pints

Combine all ingredients except cherry and extract.  Bring to a slow boil and stir until sugar is all dissolved. Cook rapidly to a gel phase - stirring often.  Remove from heat and stir in cherries and almond extract.  Place in hot jars and leave 1/4" head space.  Process for 15 minutes in a water bath.
YUM!!!!  How wonderful on biscuits over ice cream or oatmeal.  So many uses.


                                                              Enchilada Sauce

ENCHILADA SAUCE
                                       Click on picture to enlarge and better be able to read


HOMEMADE
LEMON OR MINT EXTRACTS
Pull your lemon balm or mint and remove leaves.  Crush a little or bruise the leaves.  Place leaves in a jar - lightly packing about 3/4 full.  Top with vodka or rum.  Lid and place in a cool dark place - for around 4 months.  Shake every now and then.
Strain and place in nice bottle or jar and use as you would store bought.

                                                                        Lemon balm

HOMEMADE 
VANILLA EXTRACT
This is the one I use - as per Martha Stewart recipe.  There are many out there!
2 split vanilla beans per 1 cup of vodka.  Let it set 3 - 4 months before using.


HOMEMADE VINEGARS
Place crushed or bruised leaves of any herbs - basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc. in a jar and cover with cider vinegar.  Let it set for a few months to absorb herb flavors.  Great to use over Italian foods or as a salad topping.  Many uses.


HOMEMADE
Think about spaghetti sauces, pizza sauce, pickles, relishes, peppers, Cowboy candy (jalapenos), jellies and jams - anything you can prepare from fresh and can.  These things make wonderful gifts!


Watch the thrift stores and yard sales for fancy little bottles and jars to place vinegars or extracts in.  You can get them for next to nothing.  Dollar Tree is another place to look for cute little bottles.
You can make up pretty labels and copy at home to really make your items look special.
These items can be purchased at high end specialty stores for a LOT of money.  Make it yourself for little.

So even though you may be sweating your bum off - it is time to start looking around for all these wonderful fresh goodies to turn into beautiful and thoughtful special gifts.



PS ** You might want to keep watch for garden seeds on markdown.  They would make a nice addition to gift baskets with maybe some garden gloves or grow pots.  
Let's get CREATIVE!


16 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, that upside down pineapple cake jam sounds delicious. I’d say that would be really good over ice cream!

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    1. Yeppers it would. Not too hard to make either.

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  2. I have enough lemon balm to supply my neighborhood! That would be a good use for it!

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    1. It really makes good extract - I have made it many times. You can also dry it and use it when brewing tea!
      I have made simple syrup with it as well. Lemon balm and water and sugar - strain and use in tea.

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  3. Twat jam sounds so good. I make jam every year for gifts and people love it!

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    1. Quite different than most - and a wonderful flavor.

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  4. For an exchange with good friends (the only ones I exchange with), I may do a gift basket of homemade goods this year -- strawberry, peach, and some other jams in 4 oz. jars, flavored oils, maybe some vanilla, and some of my pasta sauce(s) for two (since they are soon-to-be empty nesters. Time to start thinking about these things, with produce starting to come on. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. I pretty much do this every year. I have some adult family that I share with - a friend or two - and everyone loves it.
      Yes, now is the time to start making plans.

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  5. The jam looks so good! If we have a surplus of tomatoes, I may try the enchilada sauce. The store-bought stuff really isn't good. Years ago when we lived at Lizton, we had a really big garden and I made ketchup.

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    1. I have made the enchilada sauce and it is very good. So easy to make.
      My mom used to make ketchup - that took a lot of tomatoes!

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  6. I suppose that I could sub vanilla in the jam for the almond. I really do not like almond flavoring. It sounds delicious!

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    1. Sure you could - we all sub what we like in recipes.

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  7. Oh man, that pineapple upside down cake jam looks delicious!!

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    1. Tasty, pretty and easy. Doesn't get much better than that!

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  8. Great ideas....... can't do jelly and jam anymore, but would be great for gifts. I used to do wild cherry, elderberry, and wild plum jellies for Christmas baskets.

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    1. Yum those all sound tasty. I eat very little jelly myself - but do make things for gifts.

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