Gifts from the Garden 2009

Gifts from the Garden 2009
Gifts from the garden are meaningful. They show you really care. There are so many items you can make. It’s really a matter of which garden craft technique you prefer.

Any type of produce can be turned into suitable gifts. Canned and dried fruits and vegetables as well as dried herbs make great gifts. Garden produce can be used to create all sorts of jams, jellies, and preserves for gifts. Fruit syrups are also another possibility. For those with a preference for spicy food, make some hot pepper jelly. This is absolutely delicious not only on toast, but as a condiment for meat entrees.

Consider fruit butters as well. These are simple and fun to make.

Using culinary herbs from your garden, create herbal teas and unique herb blends for various purposes. For example, you might create one mix for salad dressings and another for fish.

If you still have green tomatoes on hand, make some pickle relish. Ideas include green tomato relish as well as piccalilli—a mixed relish made with different garden vegetables.

There’s no need to buy fancy gift jars for these garden gifts. Just use some empty food jars you have on hand. Wash and remove all the old labels. Sterilize the lids and jars before using. Create unique labels for the jars by stamping, calligraphy, or other craft technique. You can also use a computer and printer to create these.

There are many other inexpensive ways to decorate gift jars. Cut a circle of sturdy gift wrap or fabric. Wrap this around the lid, and tie in place with a piece of raffia or ribbon. For a rustic look, wrap the jars in burlap.

There is increasing interest in specialty vinegars. So, create some herb vinegars for gifts. These are delicious and beautiful.

Make some small herbal sachets or herbal pillows. This usually requires some minimal sewing skills. If you don’t have time to sew the bags, buy some of the small gift/favor bags from a craft store. They could be stitched by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine. Cut the fabric into desired shapes. Ideas include hearts, dolls, and simple squares. In addition to sachets, you could create various herbal bath mixes and put them into sachet bags.

Those who sew can make herbal hot pads filled with sweetly scented herbs and spice mixes. These protect countertops and tables from heat, and also smell delightful. Insert the herbs and spices right before the opening of the hot pad is slipstitched.

If you have enough dried lavender on hand, put the stems together into wands. These make wonderful gifts, and provide a delightful scent throughout the year. Lavender wands are quick to make. Arrange the stems in a fan-like fashion. Tie the bundle together with a ribbon at the cut end.

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