4 Ideas for Homemade Holiday Gifts

Jam in jars
Shopping for holiday gifts can be stressful on you and your wallet. Here are some simple holiday treats you can make at home, package into reusable containers and finish ahead time, avoiding the last-minute gift scramble and keeping extra pennies in your pocket.
 
Jams or fruit butters: Buy fresh fruit or berries when they are in season in the summer and fall for the best flavor and prices. Canned in a pressure canner, these jams can last up to 12 months. Canning in small 4-ounce mason jars makes a perfect-sized gift and lets you make a lot of gifts with one batch.
 
Seasoned salt: Flavored salts are simple to make and can be placed in small decorative jars. Citrus salts (lemon/orange zest) are great sprinkled on chicken or fish; nori/seaweed salts can be sprinkled on salads or popcorn to add a unique flavor; roasted garlic or truffle salts are wonderful on roasted vegetables or bread. Place the salts into empty glass spice jars and decorate with a festive label.
 
Roasted nuts: Purchase raw, unsalted nuts such as cashews, almonds, walnuts, or pecans in the bulk section of the grocery store. Transform them with a salty tamari or spiced sugar glaze and bake them in the oven. When cool, package the nuts into airtight glass containers.
 
Caramels: Homemade caramels take a bit of effort to make and individually wrap, but the quantity produced makes them one of the more economical and delicious gifts. Wrap each caramel into wax paper for simple, compostable packaging.
 
Making your own holiday gifts is a fun and unique way to spread holiday cheer while staying on budget.
 
— By Danielle Taylor, Bastyr dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.
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