Holiday Presents

What a great holiday season! Like many I’m enjoying some time off work, spending time with friends and family and, of course, indulging in delicious food & drink.

Every holiday season comes with the joy of giving and receiving lovely gifts and I’ve been lucky as always with lots of great stuff.

What did I spy under the tree this year but a big, round, oddly-wrapped package which revealed itself to be a gigantic boiling water canner. That’s right, I now have my very own canning equipment, or at least a vital component thereof.

Whoah. This is serious.

Now I have been using my grandma’s canning equipment and I don’t want to dis my grandma’s boiling water canner. Once we swept out the cobwebs it worked perfectly. Sure it had some sedimentary residue, some rust and was a bit tippy, but it worked great, really.

This excellent and thoughtful gift from my parents paired with the comprehensive Ball handbook of canning and preserving will surely signal the beginning of a whole new era in my canning career.

Expect some pretty awesome preserves out of the Covert camp next year. This poor workman will surely not be able to blame her tools (Ak! Will have to come up with another scapegoat for jellies that won’t jell and other problems. Any ideas?)

Advertisements

Gifts from the Garden

I’m no Martha Stewart but I do enjoy making things & creating unique gifts.

I’ve been giving the jalapeƱo jelly that Mum and I made this summer as hostess gifts at holiday parties recently and it tends to go over pretty well. There is something so satisfying about saying “here’s something we made from stuff we grew ourselves.”

I’d seen this other idea in this kind of hippy-dippy homesteading book that I’ve been collecting and alternately buying into wholeheartedly and discrediting as being a handbook for crackpots. This one is a simple idea which has a lot of visual appeal–store you dried herbs in antique glass jars.

Wait, I just realized that this isn’t one of those stories where everything goes awry & we have to improvise because of unforeseen circumstances. Crazy!

I found some lovely antique jars at an estate sale–4 for $1. I later found the rubber rings to seal the jars at a local kitchen store and they even fit. I dried the herbs in my closet for a month or so and when I needed to produce a little hostess gift I pulled the dried herbs off thier stems, collected them into the jars, decorated with raffia & adorable fabric tags acquired from a craft sale and done!

Of course I am glossing over the fact that I left this project to the last minute & so was stuffing sage leaves into jars at like 10:30 at night while packing for a business trip & baking for the cookie exchange or some similar nonsense.

I love the appeal of giving something homemade–it might be a bit kooky or be not quite perfect but there’s great satisfaction in proudly proffering something made by hand, with care and personal creativity.