Written by Nicole Holland
The delicious homegrown veggies from your SFG can be shared with friends and family long after the harvest is over. How? As a home-made treat from your kitchen!
We’ve got five easy-to-make garden treats below. If your SFG is still producing, you can make a batch now. If it’s winter in your neck of the woods, we suggest saving this article for inspiration as you plan your SFG crops next year. You’ll want to boost your harvest to delight loved ones with your own culinary creations!
We love the homemade theme here…so unleash your creativity (or let the kids have fun with it) and craft your own labels and wrapping from upcycled materials.
Hot Pepper Jelly – Tasty AND Festive
Mild or spicy, in a rainbow of colors, pepper jelly packs lots of options for a delicious gift from the garden. Here’re just a few savory ways to use this versatile culinary gift:
- With cheese and crackers
- As a sauce for chicken wings
- On toast or a bagel with cream cheese
- As a dip or stir fry sauce
- Brush on watermelon or pineapple and grill
- To make candied bacon
Here’s my favorite recipe that makes six 8 oz. jars.
Hot Pepper Jelly Recipe
2 cups chopped hot peppers (jalapeno or serrano peppers)
2 cups chopped sweet peppers (bell or banana peppers)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
5 cups white sugar
1 box powdered pectin (1.75 oz.)
Chop peppers by hand OR use a blender to chop using the pulse function.
Add the chopped peppers, vinegar, and pectin to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and add sugar (Note: do not reduce amount of sugar or jelly will not set).
Bring to a rolling boil (doesn’t stop when stirred) and cook for 1 minute.
Ladle jelly into sterilized jars and wipe rims with a towel.
Place lids on jars and tighten “fingertip” tight (just until there is some resistance when using only your fingertips). Process jars in water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove jars from water bath and let sit overnight to completely cool and set. Check the lids in the morning to make sure they have a good seal.
For a thoughtful hostess gift, bundle a jar with cheese and crackers – done! Read more pepper jelly info and ways to use – Click here
Quick Pickled Veggies – a Party Pleaser
Pickling is another delicious way to preserve your harvest. What can you pickle? Cucumbers, yes, but green beans, onions, carrots, peppers, beets, radishes, okra, and other veggies make for a festive serving platter for a winning gift this holiday. Find more pickled veggie recipes: Click here
Quick Pickled Vegetables
Makes one 16 oz. (pint) jar
1 ½ cups fresh cucumbers, peppers, radishes, carrots, okra, onions, green beans, etc.
½ cup water, room temperature
½ cup rice vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or sugar
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
20 twists of freshly ground black pepper
2 leafy sprigs of fresh dill, roughly chopped (or 1 teaspoon of dried dill)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
Slice vegetables into rounds or spears, set aside.
In a bowl, combine all other ingredients except for dill and garlic.
Stir this liquid until most of the salt has dissolved; 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pack vegetables into a wide-mouthed mason jar, and top with reserved dill and garlic.
Pour the liquid over the vegetables in the jar so they are fully submerged.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Store in fridge for up to a month.
Gift Some Tomato Goodness
There’re so many kinds of tomatoes – colors, sizes, shapes and flavors – as well as ways to preserve them. From sun-dried to pasta sauce, from salsa to bruschetta, here are some of my favorite gift ideas.
Homemade salsa is perfect for the taco-lover in your life – pack it in a unique bowl and add gourmet bagged chips.
Bruschetta and crostini are a savory hostess gift during the holidays – or any time!
Bottle sun-dried tomatoes or homemade sauce in a pretty jar, tuck in a gift basket with dried pasta and a bottle of wine.
Check out my favorite no-fuss recipe below:
These tasty morsels are great for adding to salads, pizzas, sandwiches, and more. Using a dehydrator takes more time than an oven, but it uses a lot less energy and you can store the tomatoes in the pantry for a year or more. No dehydrator? An oven works fine, but you’ll have to store them in the freezer. They keep for up to 3 months. For either method, rehydrate using a bit of hot water or broth.
In the Oven:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes in half and toss in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs (optional). Spread tomatoes evenly on the sheet and bake at 225°F for about 4 hours. Cool completely before storing in the freezer.
In the Dehydrator:
Cut tomatoes in half and spread evenly on dehydrator trays leaving space between to allow for air flow. Fill as many trays as needed, stack, and place lid on dehydrator. Run dehydrator for 8-10 hours or until the tomatoes are dry enough to break easily.
Looking for more tomato gift ideas? Click here for extra inspiration.
Bake a Batch of Breakfast Breads
Are you growing carrots, squash, pumpkin or zucchini in your SFG? Don’t forget to add breads and muffins to your harvest gift idea list. Remember, you can bake during the peak of growing season and pop those delicious treats in the freezer to store until the holidays.
Share Your Seeds – a Smile That Keeps On Giving
You probably rave about your SFG’s tasty cantaloupes, juicy sweet tomatoes and tender green beans with friends and family. Let them enjoy the same garden goodness when you gift seeds from your produce. Peas and peppers are other good seed sources – be sure to only save seeds from heirloom or open-pollinated (not hybrid) varieties. Decorate the seed envelopes (include plant info), put in a cute harvest basket or sun hat, and voila – they’ll think about you every time they’re in the garden.