Posts Tagged ‘diy hostess gifts’

Homemade Goodness – DIY Gift Ideas

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

DIY: Wine Jelly, Flavored Sugar and Salt

[simage=828,288,y,left] Tis the season for giving gifts. Sometimes the most touching gifts are homemade – for both the giver and the receiver. Just like the recipes in the Mama Says recipe collection, you can work with items in your pantry along with a decorative jar to create an innovative gift. Here are three homemade gift ideas; wine jelly, flavored sugars and salts.

Easy-to-make flavored sugars and salt. The possibilities are endless.

You can create flavored salt or sugar by placing an item in the salt or sugar for a short period of time to impart flavor. To flavor sugar, consider: vanilla beans, citrus peels, dried lavender buds, or edible flowers and leaves. Flavored/scented sugars are a great way to add flavor to a variety recipes – decorate cookies, stir it into coffee or tea, rim a drink glass, or dust your favorite dessert. While flavored salts add depth and spice to a variety of recipes from dips and marinades to chili or as a rimming salt. Flavored salt and sugars will keep indefinitely in an airtight container at room temperature.

[simage=829,200,n,right] Basic Directions for Flavored Sugar or Salt

  1. Place a cleaned item (vanilla bean, lemon peel, etc) on a baking sheet and set aside until dried. Skip this step if you using a dried item such as lavender buds.
  2. Place one cup super-fine granulated sugar or salt (Kosher or table) into a zip lock bag. Add your selected item to the zip lock bag and seal, removing as much air from the bag as possible. Set aside for 5 – 7 days.
  3. After the curing time, sift the sugar/salt to remove all traces of the item.
  4. Store flavored sugar/salt in an airtight container or package in small decorative jars to give as gifts. Don’t forget to label and date your creation.

[simage=831,200,y,left] Wine Jelly

Wow your friends with a jar of homemade wine jelly – just don’t forget to keep one for yourself. Any bottle of wine that you have on hand – red or white — it could be a favorite or a lone bottle on the shelf will make a delicious jelly and a marvelous gift.  Try wine jelly with cheese and crackers, on toast, or as a marinade or glaze with chicken, fish or a roast, as a pancake syrup, or drizzle over ice cream or a favorite cake.

Wine Jelly

Makes 6 half-pint jars.


3 cups wine (one 750 ml bottle)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (1.75 ounce) package dry pectin
4 1/2 cups white sugar


  1. Prepare canning jars according to manufacturers instructions.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine wine, lemon juice, and pectin over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam off top, if necessary.
  4. Ladle hot jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Tighten 2 piece lids. Process for 5 minutes in boiling water bath or in a canning processor.

[simage=830,200,y,left] Mama Says – Cooking Notes: I used a bottle of Angels Landing Stages Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 in the wine jelly (out-of-the-ballpark delicious) and used one medium jalapeno (sans seeds) to flavor batches of flavored sugar and salt. Can’t wait for a holiday party to offer up brie with wine jelly and rim glasses with jalapeno sugar or salt.

Happy Holidays. And happy gift giving.

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