Make it Yourself Monday- Jar Gifts

Yes, we are in the home stretch, just weeks before Christmas. If you are like me, there are still a few gifts that you need to finish up, so here are a few easy to do ideas. Jars are so versatile, you can fill them with bath salts, fizzy balls, foods, drinks, candies, all sorts of things! I personally enjoy receiving easy to do foods, so here are some recipes that you can make and give. There are some more recipes in this post from the beginning of the year, so be sure to check here too!  

The first, and probably the easiest jar gift is also maybe one of the most delightful....Scented Sugar.

Scented sugars add a nice, subtle flavor and scent to coffee, tea, fruit desserts, and baked goods. Just mix a small batch and put it into a pretty jar for a creative and aromatic gift. Heading to a holiday party?This jar gift makes a wonderful and thoughtful hostess gift!

Just layer granulated sugar with your choice of aromatic edibles. Try scented geranium leaves, dried lavender (make sure to only use the buds), rose petals (make sure they are untreated), vanilla beans, dried orange peels, or dried lemon peels (you can wash, peel, and dry these on the counter for a couple of days, or use the dehydrator). Make sure that you mix these in small batches for better results, and allow them to sit for a few days, in tightly sealed jars, so that the scents will infuse the sugar.

From the Martha Stewart Living (12-2006), how about some  Honey, Walnut and Dried Fruit Topping? Great for yogurt, cereal, toast, ice cream and whatever else you can dream up, this tasty treat is an easy jar gift. The following recipe will yield one 6-ounce jar, so adjust according to your needs.

1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup good-quality honey
Stir the nuts and fruit together and then transfer to a 6-ounce jar. Then top with the honey. This topping can be refrigerated in the jar for up to one month. To serve, make sure to bring it to room temperature first.

One of my personal favorites, and another great jar gift, is Chai Tea Mix.  This recipe makes two, 6 oz  jars.

1 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup black tea leaves
12 cardamom pods
4 2 inch pieces of cinnamon stick
2 tsp dried lemon peel
Divide all ingredients in half and layer equally in your jars. Add the following directions to your gift;
In a large saucepan, place contents of jar with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes then strain through a strainer, coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth.
Serve and enjoy, adding honey/sugar/sweetner to taste

Want something a bit more substantial? How about some soup? This first one could be given alone or in a gift basket with a box of tissues, some tea, and maybe even a good book, for the perfect "For whatever ales you" or "Get Well Soon" gift basket. You don't have to wait until the person is ill, give it so they will have it when they need it!

Chicken Soup Jar
Layer the ingredients from the bottom up, in the order listed, in a 1/2 quart (2 cup) glass jar.

1/4 cup of red lentils
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
1 1/2 Tbsp chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp dried dill weed or dill seed
1/8 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 cup medium egg noodles
1 bay leaf
In a 2 cup glass jar, layer

Then add a card with the following directions;  In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil, then stir in the jar of soup mix. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in 1 1/2 cups of mixed vegetables and 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is heated through.

Minestrone soup
Layer into a 1/2 quart (2 cup) glass jar the following ingredients in the order listed;
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup green split peas
1/4 cup barley
1/3 cup beef bouillon powder
2 Tbsp parsley flakes
3 Tbsp onion flakes
1/3 tsp thyme
1/3 tsp pepper
1 tsp basil
1/4 cup macaroni noodles
Add a card with the following directions; In a large saucepan combine 8-10 cups of water, a 28 oz can
of crushed tomatoes, and the jar of soup mix. Add 2 chopped carrots, 2-4 chopped potatoes, and 2 cups of chopped cabbage. Bring all to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the peas are tender.

Curried Lentil Soup
This recipe will make two 1 quart jars.
1 pound red lentils
6 tablespoons minced, dried onion
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound green lentils
1/2 of a 5 ounce package of dried apple rings that you cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Divide the recipe in half and add equally to the two jars. Add a card with the following directions;
Place the soup mix in a 3 quart saucepan, with 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Each jar will make 8 cups of soup.

Bean Soup
This recipe will take care of 12 gifts at one time! So make sure that you have 12 wide-mouth (canning), pint jars (2-cup jars), with lids and rings. You will need 14 pounds of assorted dried peas, beans and lentils. Make sure you get at least 8 different varieties for a great soup and a pretty jar! Try some;
pink beans, black beans, baby lima beans, lentils, red lentils, black-eyed peas, red kidney beans, pinto beans, split peas, great northern beans, small red beans, and some white beans. You will also need;
12 italian-flavor bouillon cubes (you may substitute beef flavor if you cannot find the Italian flavor cubes) and 12 bay leaves.

Take 1/4 cup of each type of bean and layer them in the jars. Start by adding the most colorful one to the bottom and go from there. After you add eight (1/4 cup) layers to each jar, place 1 bay leaf and one bouillon cube on top of the beans, then seal the jars with the lids and rings. Add the following directions to a card;  Set aside the bouillon cube and the bay leaf and choose the method you wish to use to soak the beans.  To quick soak; Sort and Rinse the beans into a large pot. Add 6-8 cups of hot water. Bring to a rapid boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain the soak water and then rinse the beansp
Overnight soak; Sort and rinse the beans into a large pot. Add 6-8 cups of cold water. Let them stand overnight, or at least 6 to 8 hours, then drain the soak water and rinse the beans. Once you have completed one of the soak methods, you are ready to cook. To cook; place the beans in a large pot and add in 6 cups water, one 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes with the juice, the bay leaf and the bouillon cube. Simmer gently until the beans are tender, usually about 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper prior to serving.

To make your jars festive, try adding a circle of fabric over the lid and tie with a ribbon. You can print your gift tag on the computer and put a cute design on one side and the directions on the other. Then just attach to the ribbon, around the lid.  Want more jar recipes? Check back next Monday for jars perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth!

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