For the last 8 years (or there abouts), one of my Christmas traditions is to make my own gifts. There are so many things you can you, like my homemade chocolate salami, one of my tiffins, plum jam, luxurious ketchup, sweet chilli Christmas chutney…
And that’s just a handful I’ve found in seconds.
But you’ll notice a trend here. They’re high in syns and that’s because I don’t want to “inflict” Slimming World treats on family members and close friends who aren’t on the plan. You’ve got to admit, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I respect that.
There’s a few reasons I love making homemade gifts.
I can stay at home with my pooch while I do it. I can make it ahead early. I don’t get caught up in Christmas queues. I also get to recycle jars I’ve saved up over the year (or people save them for me).
In fact, I get so much enjoyment out of giving that shortly after moving in to our house in 2014, I planted two apple trees in the garden.
Although it’s worth noting that most recipes floating around the web are for cooking apples.
I learnt this from my very first attempt and was left with a lot of juices, but it was my own personal batch.
And for the last two years, they’ve started to produce fruit. But this year, I was able to work with them as it was closer to a bushel! But, I bet most people know someone who have an apple tree going to waste or somewhere in a public place. Although I’m quite wary of the latter.
SO WHY NOT BUY THEM?
Sometimes I do ask myself this. It’s certainly much more time consuming to make my own. But if you’re like me, I just can’t stand waste. There’s also something far more personal from making your own batch which I think is an action of love compared to mass produced.
THINGS YOU’LL NEED
Other than the ingredients below, here’s a few basics I use to cook a batch.
- Jam pan
- recycled, sterilised jars (here’s how)
- lids and labels or print your own.
- Onion goggles (you’ll thank me!)
Although a single jar of chutney may seem like very little, I like to place in a presentation gift bag with the finest store bought crackers I can find (so they last longer) and tie with curling ribbon, which I curl with scissors. Or you could create a set for people, like a chutney, jam and crackers.
However, when it comes to the people we love dearest (our parents), that’s when I go to town and place in hamper baskets and make several treats, including Christmas cake, etc.
I encourage them to crack it open early to enjoy their feast throughout Christmas and not just the 25th and onwards.
LEAVE TO MATURE & SHELF LIFE
Here’s one I made two years ago (above) for that Christmas. Many people suggest making them 6 months in advance for the flavours to mature and leave in a dark place.
I’ve almost always done this, but can’t say that I’ve been able to taste the difference. I also tend to eat it within two years, too, but you’ll need to judge for yourself.
Also, there’s absolutely no need to store it in the fridge until you’ve opened it for the first time.
Delicious Apple Chutney with Eating Apples
A sweet and delicious home made apple chutney using a large batch of apples.
- 1.3 kg sugar
- 3.5 kg Apples unprepared weight
- 700 g sultanas
- 350 ml white wine vinegar
- 350 ml red wine vinegar
- 350 ml apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp mustard seeds
- 800 g onions diced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Wash, peel, core and chop the apples. (As you go, place them in a bowl of cold water mixed with the lemon juice to prevent discolouring).
Place all of the ingredients in a large jam pan, then bring to a simmer while stirring to dissolve the sugars.
Now continue to simmer until thickened. This can take around 1 hour, but keep stirring from time to time to ensure it doesn't catch at the bottom. You may want to use a splatter guard as I often do.
Once thickened, pout straight in to sterlized jars. I usually just put recycled jars the dishwasher and leave to mature for as long as you can before eating or giving as gifts.
PIN FOR LATER…