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Edible Christmas gifts are always popular.  We all spend more time at home, eating and drinking during the holidays.  It’s a chance to try out new flavours, as well as revisit traditional foods.  These three recipes are super easy, and can be made in advance. They make lovely additions to a homemade Christmas hamper.  Or as a hostess gift in their own right.

Cranberry Chutney

This delicious sweet-and-tart chutney is easy to make and packed with cranberries and juicy bits of pear and apple. It looks wonderful in the jar, packed with jewel colours and tastes wonderful with Christmas dinner or in a sandwich.
Makes about 4 pint-size jars

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries , picked over and stemmed
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2  tart apples , peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2  firm pears , peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 small (5-ounce) white onion , diced
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup diced crystallised ginger

Directions

In a large deep saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, 1 1/4 cups water, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Cook until berries begin to pop open. This takes about 10 to 12 minutes. Then adjust heat so mixture barely simmers. Stir in apples, pears, onion, raisins, and ginger. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until thick, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Discard visible cinnamon sticks and cloves. Then use a jug to gather the chutney and pour into sterilised jars.

Refrigerate in tightly sealed jars for up to 2 months. Attach a ribbon and gift tag with suggested serving ideas (for instance, “Serve with Christmas turkey or ham, or spread on turkey sandwiches”).

Apple and Ginger Chutney

Apples are plentiful at this time of year and the addition of ginger brings a lovely warming flavour to this chutney.  Once you have done all the chopping you can leave it alone to cook on the hob, as you get on with other jobs.  It only needs the occasional stir to ensure it doesn’t sick to the bottom of the saucepan. We love this chutney in sandwiches with slices of cold ham and cheeses. It is one of our most popular edible Christmas gifts.

Ingredients

1kg of cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped

40g of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped

350g dark brown sugar

250ml of cider vinegar

250g golden raisins

Directions

Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan, cook at a steady simmer over a medium high heat for about 45 minutes, stirring every now and then so it does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan.

Transfer the chutney into sterilised jars and seal while still hot. Stored like this in a cold dark place, they should last for at least one year.

Infused Olive Oils

Infusing Olive oil with herbs and spices is a super way to bring interesting flavours to any dish.  Simple to do, the main thing to ensure is you find pretty glass bottles or jars to present your gifts in. The proportion of Oil to herbs and spices depends on the bottle you choose and how strongly flavoured you want the oils.  You can experiment with a little flavour and add more to get a more intense flavour.

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • bunch of mixed herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) OR Chilli OR Garlic cloves and Peppercorns

Directions

Wash and fully dry the fresh herbs. Combine herbs and olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Let oil and herbs simmer over low heat for approximately 20 minutes. You just want the oil to warm, not cook or spatter.

Strain out the herbs, and pour into a clean, dry glass bottles. (You can add an additional sprig of herbs/chillis/garlic/peppercorns to the bottle at this stage.)